“Wisdom teeth” (third molars) usually emerge in the late teens or early twenties and can push against adjacent teeth or remain impacted. If so, the recommendation is to have them removed before they cause further damage or infection. In some cases, dentists recommend that wisdom teeth be removed prophylactically to eliminate the potential for any future problems. Interestingly, there may someday be another approach to wisdom-tooth treatment that eliminates wisdom teeth before they ever appear. Unlike other permanent teeth, wisdom teeth do not exist from birth but solely appear as a “bud” of cells. If this bud is disturbed with a needle prick at around age four, wisdom teeth may never develop. More research may lead to this preventive approach.
P.S. Each year, as many as five million Americans have their wisdom teeth removed.