Wisdom teeth will start to erupt anywhere from the age of 12-26. The average age of their removal is 16-18 years old. The wisdom teeth, or “third molars”, usually do not have enough room to fully erupt. When they do erupt they could cause a number of issues. First, they could cause crowding of your other teeth. Another problem, is when the wisdom teeth grow halfway in causing inflammation and an infection of the gum behind the second molars. Third molars also have a high predilection to become decayed and cause decay behind the second molars.
There are two good reasons for leaving wisdom teeth. Number one: if it appears they’re going to fully erupt and be cleansable, as determined by you and your dentist. If you have fastidious oral hygiene, perhaps your third molars can be left in place. The second reason for leaving wisdom teeth is if they remain under the tissue within the bone with no expectation of eruption (let sleeping dogs lie).
As to the question of when to remove wisdom teeth, it depends on the positioning of the upper third molars. If their eruption is at or near the enamel of the second molars it makes their removal much easier. Therefore all four wisdom teeth could be removed at the same time. If the lower wisdom teeth are causing pain, and the upper wisdom teeth have not adequately erupted, then consideration should be given to removing the lower wisdom teeth only.
Some dentists take out wisdom teeth, while others may refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. If you’re experiencing pain with your wisdom teeth, upper or lower, it would be wise to seek guidance from your dentist.