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Wisdom tooth removal is a common procedure among Americans, but some people may still wonder why their third molars need to be removed.
According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the human mouth has changed shape over the years, which means that there may not be enough room for it to accommodate the final four molars - which usually emerge in late adolescence.
Impacted and partially impacted molars are most likely to cause dental health problems - such as infection, crowding, root damage or cysts - but AAOMS research has also found that wisdom teeth that fully emerge may also lead to difficulties.
The association estimates that approximately 85 percent of wisdom teeth will need to be removed and it suggests that it is better to get them taken out before they begin causing problems.
A dentist can perform an initial assessment of your wisdom teeth to determine if they need to be removed. They may also send you to an oral surgeon for additional evaluation.
The Academy of General Dentistry reminds people that fully erupted wisdom teeth will need the same care as other teeth.
Spokesperson Dr Trey Petty says that one of the keys to preserving third molars is "brushing twice a day and seeing your dentist twice a year."
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