Wisdom Teeth

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are your third set of molars that emerge later in life than the rest of your adult teeth, usually between 14 to 21 years of age. It is a surprise for many patients to learn that their mouth is only structured to accommodate 28 teeth. It is standard practice to remove wisdom teeth as soon as they erupt to avoid the many oral health complications they can cause in the near and long term future.

Wisdom teeth are an antiquated physical trait that stretches as far back as 2.5 million years before humans cut or cooked their food. During the Stone Age or Paleolithic Era, humans had wider jaws, and the third set of molars was essential for chewing coarse raw meat and vegetation. Fast-forward to today, thousands of years of cutting and cooking food have evolved the human jaw to accommodate fewer teeth.

Do You Need to Get Your Wisdom Teeth Pulled?

A wisdom tooth often lacks the space necessary to emerge without complications, which is called an impacted wisdom tooth. An impacted tooth grows at an odd angle, gets trapped below the gum line, or causes crowding to nearby teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth cause damage to your jawbone, gum tissue, and adjacent teeth, which can lead to infection, gum disease, and jawbone cysts.

Every patient’s case is different regarding the number of wisdom teeth they get, whether the teeth are impacted, and if they cause discomfort. Some patients’ wisdom teeth emerge healthy, without disrupting other teeth. Even still, wisdom teeth can cause a host of oral problems at any point down the road unless you get them removed.

And it is essential to get your wisdom teeth extracted as soon as they become apparent. Early extraction is necessary because the roots of your wisdom teeth do not fully bond with the jawbone until your mid to late twenties. Before the roots are fully developed, they are much easier to extract, and recovery is quicker than if you put off having them taken out until later in life.

We're Here to Help!

Call us with any questions or concerns. Our caring and dedicated Oral Surgery team makes it their number one priority to give you a comfortable experience. We look forward to taking care of you!

Tacoma: 253-473-0651 Puyallup: 253-799-1525 Request an Appointment

For Parents

Drs. Wightman and Slovan are oral and maxillofacial surgeons with extensive training and experience in anesthesia and wisdom tooth extractions. Our team is dedicated to making you and your child’s experience positive and comfortable while delivering the highest quality care. We will discuss your preferences concerning oral surgery sedation, pain management medications, and answer any of your questions during your child’s wisdom tooth consultation appointment.

The consultation appointment will consist of an in-depth oral examination, often including oral scans and X-rays. Dr. Wightman and Dr. Slovan will use this information to identify the best extraction method and create a customized treatment plan. Call our office today to schedule an initial oral examination and consultation for your child.

More Information and Links

To learn more about wisdom teeth view our informative pages below.

Wisdom Teeth Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of wisdom teeth, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to wisdom teeth are discussed.

Wisdom Teeth Presentation