What is a wisdom tooth extraction?

Wisdom tooth extraction is a procedure to remove a wisdom tooth. Wisdom teeth are the four molars at the back corners of your jaw. They are the last teeth to grow in, usually in young adulthood. Wisdom teeth are often removed because they frequently cause problems, including infection, gum disease, and damage to other teeth. 

Some people do not have wisdom teeth. Other people may have fewer than four of them. Wisdom teeth typically grow in between 16 and 25 years of age. 

Wisdom tooth extraction is generally considered safe, but there are risks and potential complications. Oral surgeons and dentists frequently recommend wisdom tooth extraction before problems begin, but not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth removed. Ask your provider if keeping your wisdom teeth is an option for you. 

Medical Reviewers: Nicole Holland DDS, MS Last Review Date: Mar 4, 2013

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Medical References

  1. Extractions. Mouth Healthy by the American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/e/extractions.aspx.
  2. The Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. http://www.aaoms.org/theoms.php.
  3. Tooth Extraction. Colgate Oral Health and Dental Resource Center. http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Oral-and-Dental-Health-Basics/Checkups-a....
  4. Tooth Removal / Tooth Extractions. Colgate Oral Health and Dental Resource Center. http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Oral-and-Dental-Health-Basics/Checkups-a....
  5. What Are Wisdom Teeth? Colgate Oral Health and Dental Resource Center. http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Oral-and-Dental-Health-Basics/Checkups-a....
  6. Wisdom Teeth. American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. http://www.aaoms.org/wisdom_teeth.php.
  7. Wisdom Teeth. Mouth Healthy by the American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/w/wisdom-teeth.aspx.

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