Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to come in and the ones least needed for good oral health. The third molars or wisdom teeth, are called such because they develop when most individuals become adults (which are near 17 years of age).
Because our jaws are smaller than our ancestors, our wisdom teeth may not have enough room to fit in our mouths properly. Therefore, problems may result if these additional teeth attempt to emerge.
Most people have four wisdom teeth, one in each corner of the mouth and often they are impacted (trapped in the jawbone and gums). Cramped for room, these impacted teeth grow in many different directions and removal may be recommended by your dentist to prevent potential problems.
Whether wisdom teeth cause your mouth harm depends on several factors, including the size of your jaw and how your wisdom teeth grow in. You may have no symptoms at all, but the other teeth in your mouth could be at risk for damage.
It is best to have wisdom teeth removed around 17 years of age because that is when they usually develop. Removal will be easier as the bone may not be as dense as in an older person. Also, recovery will be faster since the roots usually have not yet fully developed.