Health Library

Wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth in back of left side of mouth, with close-up of six molars including wisdom tooth under gum and impacted wisdom tooth causing inflamed tissue.

Wisdom teeth are the upper and lower third molars, located at the very back of the mouth on both sides. They usually come in (erupt) when a person is between 17 and 21 years old. A wisdom tooth can be painful when it is coming in.

If your jaw is not big enough to make room for your wisdom teeth, they may get stuck (impacted) in your jaw and not be able to break through your gums. An impacted wisdom tooth can crowd other teeth and cause pain, swelling, and infection in your gums. Your dentist may recommend having them pulled (extracted).

Current as of: June 30, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine