"Wisdom teeth", or third molars, are just teeth. Not a tumor, not a malignancy, just a tooth that usually erupts (or tries to) in the second half of the teenage years. Because of that late appearance at an enlightened age, they were nicknamed "wisdom teeth"...
A third molar that erupts normally, reaches a proper level, is surrounded by normal gingival tissue AND can be properly maintained with dental hygiene is a tooth that can certainly be kept and put to good use, chewing the harder stuff "way back there"...However, that pleasant scenario does NOT describe the majority of third molars, it is actually the case only for only a few of them. The majority of third molars will remain "impacted" ("stuck in", in short, whether partially or completely), malpositioned (usually angled or even lying completely horizontally behind the second molar!), and will eventually create periodontal issues or direct damages to the second molar. They are in short acting as "a bad apple in the basket", jeopardizing the future survival of the useful second molar, and are a very common source of abscesses (infection). It should be noted also that even fully erupted third molars have often a poor long-term prognosis, because of the difficulty associated with reaching them and cleaning them properly.
Third molars that do not assume their proper position should in general be removed. Dr. Ashba will monitor them and give you the appropriate recommendations for their maintenance or removal. Third molar extraction is done as a routine procedure by the oral and maxillofacial surgeon, usually using IV Sedation or General Anesthesia. The best timing for their removal is usually while the roots are partially formed, something that decreases the risk of the surgical risks associated with the maxillary sinuses or the "nerves of the lower lip and the tongue", something that will be explained in details to you at the time of the surgical consultation.
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