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Third Molars (Wisdom Teeth)


Wisdom teeth, also called third molars, are the four teeth positioned in the very corners of your mouth. They are the last teeth in the mouth to erupt, generally appearing in the late teens or early 20's.

Wisdom teeth are the teeth most frequently impacted. The impaction may be caused by the tooth being tilted out of its normal position, or not having sufficient space to erupt because of surrounding teeth. Like other impacted teeth, impacted wisdom teeth can push other teeth out of proper position, which can affect the bite. Impacted teeth may erupt only partially, creating a gap not easily reachable by brushing and flossing where bacteria can hide and infection can develop. Additionally, cysts can sometimes form in the hard tissue around an impacted wisdom tooth, potentially damaging it and nearby teeth.

As many as 9 in 10 people have at least one out of their four wisdom teeth extracted. It is generally recommended for wisdom teeth to be extracted when patients are in their late teens or early 20's, before the jaw has fully matured.

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