Not all third molars erupt into the mouth, but if they do, it’s usually in the late teens through the early 20’s. I guess they are called wisdom teeth because we are supposed to be wise by that age; that’s a whole separate blog!
These molars are the furthest back in the mouth and there are good reasons why Dr. Beck and many other dentists recommend they be extracted. Due to their location and position in the mouth, they are very difficult to keep clean; both at home and in the dental chair. Because of this, they are an easy target for periodontal disease and decay.
Also, because of their location, wisdom teeth are difficult and many times impossible to restore like the rest of the dentition. Sometimes wisdom teeth will partly erupt leaving some gum tissue partly covering them (called an operculum). This tissue often gets infected due to trapped food and bacteria leading to pain and swelling.
In rare instances, impacted wisdom teeth can get cysts and tumors that grow around them destroying large amounts of jaw bone and the surrounding teeth. Dr. Beck at South Waterfront dental recommends a comprehensive examination and radiographs to help you determine the health of your wisdom teeth.