Font Size

Wisdom Tooth Problems (cont.)

Exams and Tests

Your dentist will examine your teeth and gums for signs of a wisdom tooth coming through your gum or crowding other teeth. You will have X-raysClick here to see an illustration. to see whether you have problems with your wisdom teeth now or whether they are likely to cause problems in the future.

Treatment Overview

The most common treatment for wisdom tooth problems is removing the tooth (extraction). This involves opening the gum over the tooth, removing the tooth, and closing the gum with stitches if needed. Recovery usually takes just a few days.

Experts disagree about whether to remove a wisdom tooth that is not causing obvious symptoms or problems.

  • Some oral surgeons believe that it is best to remove a wisdom tooth, especially if it is impacted, before a person is 20 years old, to prevent future problems. Removing a wisdom tooth later in life is associated with more complications.1, 2
  • Some dentists think it is best to wait and remove a wisdom tooth only if there is a problem, especially if you are older than 30.
  • Studies have not clearly shown if it is beneficial or harmful to remove a wisdom tooth that is not diseased or causing problems.3
  • Experts also disagree about whether disease-free wisdom teeth should be removed during orthodontic treatment.4

Wisdom teethClick here to see an illustration. that are causing problems usually should be extracted. An oral or maxillofacial surgeon or your dentist can remove wisdom teeth.

Click here to view a Decision Point.Wisdom Teeth: Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

What to Think About

Wisdom teeth are as useful as any other teeth if they come in properly and there is plenty of room in your mouth for good dental care.

Talk to your dentist about whether to have your wisdom teeth removed. You and your dentist may consider several things, including:

  • Whether your wisdom tooth is impacted and whether it is causing any problems for you.
  • Your age and other medical conditions.
  • Whether you are able to take good care of your wisdom tooth and the surrounding teeth every day with proper brushing or cleaning.
Next Page:

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit

© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Medical Dictionary