Did you know that as we enter adulthood, up to four additional teeth can erupt? These are known as wisdom teeth, or third molars. At one point, they helped our ancestors eat roots, tubers, and other tough vegetation. Now, we have little use for them and their arrival can lead to trouble, which is why wisdom teeth often need removal.

Try Our Wisdom Teeth Quiz

  1. True or False: Not everyone requires extraction.
  2. True or False: Third molars can lead to misalignment and other problems.
  3. True or False: We can safely and comfortably extract them.
  4. True or False: We can offer dental sedation.

Answer Key

  1. True. In some cases, the teeth can erupt and fit alongside your other teeth without complications. However, these are very rare cases. You should speak with your dentist to see if you have wisdom teeth that will require extraction or not.
  2. True. Our teeth can comfortably accommodate 28 teeth. However, with the arrival of the third molars our smile must accommodate 32, which may lead to misalignment or impaction, in which the teeth can only partially erupt. Impaction can lead to damaged teeth and infection.
  3. True. We can use oral surgery to remove the wisdom teeth safely before they even erupt, protecting your smile from impaction or misalignment.
  4. True. We have two sedation options. The first is nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, which is administered via a mask over the nose. The gas helps the patient remain calm and relaxed, but conscious throughout the procedure. The effects wear off almost immediately when the procedure ends. Oral sedation is deeper, which means you may need to arrange for someone to bring you home afterward. Both options can help those with anxiety remain calm during the procedure.