Wisdom Teeth

The average adult has 32 teeth by age eighteen: 16 teeth on top and 16 teeth on the bottom. Each tooth has a specific name and function. The back teeth, known as molars, are used to grind food into a consistency suitable for swallowing. The average mouth may only comfortably hold 28 teeth, and it can be painful to try to fit 32 teeth in it. These extra four teeth are known as “wisdom teeth,” or third molars. They are the last teeth to erupt in the mouth, and it is often recomended to have them removed in the early teen years to prevent future problems associated with them.

Wisdom teeth may remain trapped beneath the bone and gum, partially erupt from the gum, or grow sideways. Impacted wisdom teeth take many positions in the bone as an attempt to find a pathway to erupt successfully.

Why Should My Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?

There are several conditions that may develop if poorly positioned wisdom teeth are not removed. Partially impacted teeth provide an area for growth of bacteria, which in turn results in infection. A person will experience stiffness, swelling, pain and illness. The erupting wisdom tooth may move other teeth and disrupt the natural or orthodontic alignment of teeth. Cysts or tumors can form around the impacted wisdom teeth. This can cause serious problems and result in the destruction of healthy teeth and the jaw bone. These problems can be resolved by removal of the offensive wisdom teeth. It is recommended that the teeth be extracted early to minimize the surgical risk involved with the procedure and to avoid problems.


Dr. Shabtaie can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and discuss if there may be present or future complications by reviewing x-rays and conducting an oral examination of the mouth. Generally a general dentist, orthodontist, or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon will first evaluate a patient in his or her late teens.

Dr. Shabtaie is trained, licensed and is experienced in various types of anesthesia techniques, allowing patients to select the appropriate anesthesia for maximized comfort. Dr. Shabtaie provides an environment of optimal safety, experienced staff in anesthesia techniques, and modern monitoring equipment.

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