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Wisdom teeth removal 'may improve dental health'
Updated: 12/23/2008 8:00:00 PM

Wisdom teeth removal Even after most of your adult teeth have long since grown in, third molars - otherwise known as wisdom teeth - may still emerge.

The name "wisdom teeth" is derived from the time of life when they tend to show themselves, which is usually between the ages of 17 and 25.

After consulting with a dentist, many people find that it is necessary to have these teeth removed, for a variety of dental health reasons.

For example, if a wisdom tooth is impacted - meaning it does not have enough space to fully erupt - it can lead to pain or infection.

"When wisdom teeth partially erupt, food can get caught in the gums and may cause an infection, swelling, growth of a tumor or cyst and pain," explained Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Dr Trey Petty.

The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons also warns that some dental health problems related to third molars may not even be visible.

The group suggests that people consult a dentist about their wisdom teeth sooner rather than later, because as many as 85 percent of the teeth will require removal - and performing the procedure when a patient is younger tends to result in fewer complications.

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