Wisdom teeth, are the third and final set of molars on the tooth-development timeline. While they begin forming beneath the surface around your tenth birthday, they don’t generally erupt until your late teens or early twenties; the age at which you are said to gain wisdom.
For our ancestors, wisdom teeth were the evolutionary response to excessive wear caused by an early diet of coarse, rough food, however with the advancements of modern oral hygiene, and a diet of softer foods, they have become somewhat redundant and in many cases are the culprit of overcrowding and dental complications.
As wisdom teeth are the last permanent teeth to come in, there is often not enough room left in your mouth to accommodate them. This can lead to wisdom teeth that are impacted (below the gum line and not erupted). If teeth are impacted, a number of complications may occur including swelling and tenderness in the area of the third molar.
As these complications are so common, it is often recommended that wisdom teeth are removed early in life (late teens or early twenties) to avoid more extreme issues that may arise down the line when the roots are mature and fully grounded.
The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons estimates that about 85 percent of wisdom teeth will eventually need to be removed.
Removal of wisdom teeth due to crowding or impaction should not affect your bite or oral health in the future.
After extraction surgery, bruising, swelling and tenderness in the face and neck are common, but temporary. Ice packs and pain medications prescribed by the dentist or oral surgeon should help to mitigate these issues, but if you have any questions or are concerned about what you are experiencing, contact your oral surgeon.