Your wisdom teeth (the third molars), are typically the last teeth to emerge from the gums. If your wisdom teeth are functional and healthy, they can serve a purpose. Yet, it is common that they need to be removed, generally for orthodontic purposes—because they can put pressure on the adjacent teeth. Other times, wisdom teeth partially erupt through the gums, and are misaligned. These can cause dangerous infections if not treated, thus they must be surgically removed. In rare occasions, wisdom teeth can lead to cysts forming—or even tumors—that can be disastrous to the entire jaw.
The procedure for removing your wisdom teeth is very simple. First a local anesthetic is administered to ensure a comfortable procedure. Some doctors will elect to administer nitrous oxide to leave the patient unconscious throughout surgery. Then, the extraction begins. An instrument called an “elevator” is used to wiggle the tooth from its socket. Once loosened, it is forcibly removed with forceps, sometimes assisted by a surgical hand piece.
Tooth extraction is a surgical procedure, and sometimes possible complications occur. Be aware that there is a slight chance of infection, prolonged bleeding, dry socket, tenderness, and loosening of the teeth next door. In very rare occasions, an upper tooth is displaced into the sinus, or the jawbone is fractured; and incredibly rare, temporary or permanent numbness can occur.
It is impossible to answer this question without a personalized dental consultation. Once you have your consultation, if your dentist has advised you in extracting your wisdom teeth, then it’s generally best to remove them sooner as opposed to later when the procedure could be more problematic. The likeliness of rare complications increases with age, thus the younger you are, the better for this particular surgery.