understanding wisdom teeth Tigard dental

Understanding Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom Teeth: What You Need to Know

The third molars are the last set of molars located at the back of your mouth. These teeth are often referred to as wisdom teeth. They typically start to erupt in late adolescence or early adulthood, often between the ages of 17 and 25. Wisdom teeth are unique because they are typically removed.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are a natural part of our dental anatomy, but we as humans have evolved over time and so has the purpose of these third molars. In the beginning of humanity, we had much larger jaws and the diet back then required more chewing power. The third molars played a critical role in grinding down tough things. In our evolution our jaws have become smaller, and these wisdom teeth no longer serve a purpose.

Do Wisdom Teeth Serve Any Purpose Today?

Most people have plenty of chewing power without these teeth. And since we have much smaller jaws than our ancestors, removing these teeth is commonplace as they can lead to oral problems.

Common Issues with Wisdom Teeth

When the wisdom teeth begin to erupt, they can bring many issues along with them.

Impaction: Because our jaws are smaller there is often little room for these teeth when they start coming in. This can cause the tooth to become impacted as it has nowhere to go. Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to pain, infection, and damage to adjacent teeth.

Crowding: Due to the late eruption of wisdom teeth crowding of the teeth often happens. This can cause alignment issue to your existing teeth which could necessitate orthodontic

Infection and Gum Disease: It is very challenging to keep the third molars clean because they are so far back in the mouth. This can increase the risk of gum disease.

Should You Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Making the discision to have your wisdom teeth removed will depend on and a few factors. This includes your overall oral health, the position of the wisdom teeth and whether these teeth are causing issues. When you visit us, we can analyze your third molar positioning and assist you in making the choice.

Pain and Discomfort: If your wisdom teeth are causing pain, discomfort, or other oral health problems, removal is often recommended. If the teeth are impacted in any way, we would recommend removal.

Risk of Infection: If there is a high risk of infection or gum disease due to the wisdom teeth, removal may be necessary.

Orthodontic Treatment: In cases of crowding or misalignment, removing wisdom teeth may be necessary before undergoing orthodontic treatment.

The Removal Process

When you make the decision to remove these teeth, it is typically a straightforward surgical procedure. Your comfort is our highest priority. We will use local or general anesthesia to ensure you are comfortable during the procedure. Once we remove the wisdom teeth, you will be provided with extraction aftercare instructions to facilitate a smooth recovery.


Wisdom teeth are fascinating remnants of our evolutionary past, but for many people today, they are nothing but trouble. It will be very important to consult with us as to whether to remove them or keep them. An informed decision is the better decision. Our goal is to
maintain our patient’s oral health throughout their life and help them to keep a healthy and happy smile.

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