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Understanding Wisdom Teeth

Woman with wisdom tooth pain - Bradshaw Family DentalThe removal of your third molars, or wisdom teeth, is in most cases inevitable. In part, this is because the size of our jaws are not large enough to accommodate this last set of teeth. Without the room to emerge, your wisdom teeth can cause havoc, shifting your other teeth. Additionally, wisdom teeth have a high likelihood of problems with decay because it is significantly more difficult to clean around them, and often debris is missed.

Only about 2% of people over the age of 65 have maintained their wisdom teeth without decay, or caries, and periodontal disease. Our dentists, Dr. Zeiger or Dr. Frausto, at Bradshaw Family Dental, can remove your wisdom teeth, helping you maintain a healthy mouth.

Wisdom teeth get their name because they are the last teeth to come in, in a patient's mouth. Most times, they are problematic and the removal of them is considered routine, though occasionally, they are just fine staying in place. Patients generally receive their wisdom teeth between the ages of 17 and 25.

When the teeth come in upright, fully emerging and with no infection, they can often be left alone with careful monitoring. This may be temporarily ok, but due to the high risk of decay, patients will still want to consider their removal. The longer you keep your wisdom teeth, they will develop a hook shape to their root, which may lead to a much more painful removal. It is best to have your wisdom teeth removed before the age of 25.

In most situations, your wisdom teeth are unable to break through the gums, which we refer to as impacted or are easily infected. We can remove your wisdom teeth in office or refer you to an Oral Surgeon if necessary.


We, along with the American Dental Association, recommend all of our young adult patients have their wisdom teeth evaluated once a year. By evaluating the progress and health of your wisdom teeth, we can note changes, check its continuing health, and decide on the next step. We want to have a plan if any problems are foreseen.

Impacted teeth can be observed early on through digital x-rays and we can then remove them in an effort to avoid unnecessary damage to neighboring teeth. Though, it should be noted, that even if wisdom teeth seem to be coming in with no problems, they are frequently found to be filled with decay due to their positioning, making them hard to keep clean. The removal of your wisdom teeth is often the best answer.


Our dentists, Dr. Zeiger and Dr. Frausto, will recommend that their patients have their wisdom tooth extracted early on in young adulthood in order to have them extracted before the roots have had time to completely form. If our patients can take a proactive approach to the removal of their wisdom teeth, it can prevent serious, more painful, problems from occurring to the roots or other teeth in your mouth. Once the roots are allowed to fully grow, and the tooth is impacted, you could suffer from larger problems including gum disease and even tumors as a result of the impacted tooth.

Your wisdom tooth extraction is done in office with the appropriate level of anesthesia to ensure your comfort. The first few days following the removal of your wisdom teeth can be uncomfortable, you will be given the proper medication suggestion based on your situation. Following the first few days, the recovery will be easy and the result will be a healthier mouth and no need to worry about the damage that wisdom teeth can cause.


If you have decided to keep your wisdom teeth, and Dr. Zeiger or Dr. Frausto agree that this is a good plan of action, checkups will be essential. They will want to ensure that damage and decay are not occurring, causing you much larger problems.

Development of your wisdom teeth can cause larger problems beneath the gum line that could then lead to affecting your overall health. Your dental health has been shown to affect your overall health through multiple conditions. We will occasionally request x-rays to ensure that nothing is going on that cannot be seen with the naked eye.


In most cases, the removal of your wisdom teeth is inevitable, it will eventually need to happen. The only way to avoid the potential issues from wisdom teeth is to have them removed. The best way to know the status of your wisdom teeth is to see us at Bradshaw Family Dental for an evaluation.

Even if you do not feel any discomfort or pain, there could be underlying problems with your wisdom teeth that you do not realize. We do not want you to wait until you are in pain or because larger problems have been created. It is not worth the risk of waiting — give us a call today and see if your mouth is at risk for serious issues as a result of your wisdom teeth.

For more information on Wisdom Teeth, and the health of your teeth, contact Andrew D. Zeiger, DDS or David Frausto, DDS, at our Prescott Valley, AZ 86314 office. (928) 277-0076

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