The vast majority of your adult teeth grow in during childhood. But there is one notable exception.

Your third set of molars — your wisdom teeth — make their debut much later in life than the rest of your teeth. In fact, their late arrival is a major reason so many people need to have these teeth removed. Because your jaw is finished growing by the time your wisdom teeth show up, you simply might not have the space to accommodate them.

When should you expect these last molars to break through your gums? And, perhaps more important, when do you need to decide whether or not to remove them? At A&N Dental in Tempe, Arizona, our team of wisdom teeth extraction specialists is here to help through each step of the process.

But to get you started, we wanted to offer a general wisdom-tooth timeline.

When wisdom teeth grow in

Usually, wisdom teeth arrive between the ages of 17 and 21, although they can show up earlier or later than that. This doesn’t mean the teeth form in your late teens, though. Actually, by the time they start to push through your gums, your body has been slowly developing this third set of molars for about a decade.

Unfortunately, wisdom teeth often don’t grow in without issue. It’s very common for these teeth to get impacted, which means the tooth can’t break through the gum. This might happen because:

  • There isn’t space along your jaw to fit the additional tooth
  • The wisdom teeth grow in at an angle
  • The tooth gets trapped under your gum

Additionally, even when the tooth can break through the gums, allowing it to do so could cause other problems. In many cases, the wisdom tooth would crowd surrounding teeth, pushing them out of alignment and giving you a crooked smile.

The bottom line is that not all wisdom teeth need to be extracted, but many do. Our A&N Dental team can help you decide if you should get your wisdom teeth out and, if so, when.

When to get your wisdom teeth removed

There’s no specific age at which you should have your wisdom teeth extracted. Instead, our team recommends extraction only when it’s clear the wisdom teeth could present a problem for the health or appearance of your smile.

If you suspect your wisdom teeth might be impacted, come visit us. Some symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Bleeding gums
  • Trouble chewing or pain while chewing
  • Bad breath
  • Gum tenderness
  • An odd taste in your mouth

If your wisdom teeth are impacted, we can remove them to put a stop to your discomfort.

It’s also important that you come in for your biannual visit. That way, our team can check your wisdom teeth. If we see them starting to come in and crowd your other teeth, we can extract them to protect your smile.

Ultimately, you don’t have to decide when to get our wisdom teeth out. Visit our office regularly and we can make sure these extra molars never pose a problem for you. That said, if you’re experiencing any symptoms of impacted teeth, call our office in Tempe, Arizona, or book your appointment online today.