What to Know About Wisdom Teeth

True or False?

Wisdom teeth got their name because they appear later than other permanent teeth at a time when people are presumably “wiser” than when they were a child.

If you said true, you’re correct!

Our third molars, aka wisdom teeth, generally appear after all other adult teeth have come in, usually between the ages of 17 and 25. It’s quite common that wisdom teeth become problematic when they emerge in the mouth.

In many cases, the wisdom teeth don’t have enough space to grow in. They can be ill-positioned in the jaw, which prevents them from fully entering the mouth. This is referred to as an impacted tooth. It is estimated that nine out of ten people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth.

Problems With Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Having an impacted wisdom tooth (or several) can cause a few problems, such as:

  • Difficulty cleaning. An impacted wisdom tooth can be hard to reach with your toothbrush, making it more likely to decay or become infected.
  • Damaging healthy teeth. If a wisdom tooth doesn’t have room to fully enter the mouth, or if it is ill-positioned, it can damage your second molars when trying to grow in.
  • Cyst formation. Wisdom teeth develop in a sac within the jawbone. The sac can fill with fluid, forming a cyst that can damage the jawbone, teeth and nerves.


If your dentist feels your wisdom teeth are impacted, or may cause problems, he or she may suggest removal. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, wisdom teeth are easier to remove when a person is younger, as the roots have not fully developed.

Removal can be done by a dentist, or your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon. The American Dental Association recommends that everyone have a dental exam to evaluate their wisdom teeth before age 20.

TruAssureVBA dental plans are administered and underwritten by TruAssure and are offered in association with the DenteMax Plus dental network arrangement, which includes participating dentists from the United Concordia, DenteMax and Connection dental networks in all states but North Carolina, where the DenteMax Plus network arrangement includes DenteMax and Connection dental networks.

The information contained above is intended to be educational in nature, does not constitute medical advice, and should not be relied on as a substitute for actual professional medical advice, care or treatment. If you have any vision, dental or other health related concerns, VBA encourages you to immediately contact your optometrist/ophthalmologist, dentist/orthodontist or any other competent, licensed, medical professional.