Wisdom teeth typically arrive as you are entering into adulthood and are therefore “wiser” than when your other teeth erupted. But when exactly is the “wise” time to have them removed? This is a common question we hear from patients and parents alike. While the timing may be slightly different for each person, generally speaking the best time to see an oral and maxillofacial surgeon is during the early teenage years when the wisdom teeth have started to grow.
A number of studies have defined the development and eruption pattern of wisdom teeth, also known as third molars. The wisdom teeth usually become visible on an x-ray by the age of nine. In most cases, the crowns of these teeth are formed completely by the age of 14 and the roots are about halfway formed by age 16. By your twenties, wisdom teeth have typically erupted (if there is enough room for them to erupt), and are therefore visible in the back of the mouth. In these late teen years, it is quite common to see impacted wisdom teeth, meaning that the teeth are unable to break through the gums because there is not enough space present. A lack of space in the jaws is one factor that will be considered by an oral surgeon when making a recommendation to have your wisdom teeth extracted.
Why are the teenage years best for wisdom teeth removal?
Wisdom teeth are easiest and safest to remove when patients are in their teenage years due to the fact that the roots are not completely formed yet and the surrounding bone is still soft. Wisdom teeth removal becomes more complicated as the roots of the wisdom teeth develop and grow closer to the mandibular nerve in the late teens and early twenties. Injury to the mandibular nerve can cause numbness to the lower lip and chin, so removing wisdom teeth while the roots are far from the nerve is always safer and preferred. Early removal of wisdom teeth has been shown to result in very predictable and successful outcomes, including a faster recovery with minimal risk of complications.
Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed at all?
Still not convinced that your wisdom teeth need to be taken out? Check out our blog post, Wisdom Teeth – What’s the Big Deal?, about why it’s important to have this procedure done and how it can prevent health problems down the road. If you’re interested in learning more about all the factors that are evaluated before Dr. Cohen will recommend wisdom teeth removal, he addresses that topic in an article for the Huffington Post.
Not all patients will need to have their wisdom teeth extracted, but a consultation with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon that involves radiographic imaging will be necessary to evaluate your condition.
Looking for an oral surgeon in NYC for wisdom teeth removal?
Dr. Ruben Cohen at Park Avenue Oral & Facial Surgery can perform the procedure from his state-of-the-art office on the Upper East Side, an accredited surgery center that’s also a comfortable environment designed to put you at ease throughout the entire process. Check out our patient testimonials to see what other patients are saying about Dr. Cohen. A consultation at our practice is just a call or click away. You can reach us by calling (212) 988-6725 or by filling out the schedule appointment form on this page.