What are wisdom teeth?
The wisdom teeth, or third molars, are located farthest back in the mouth, and are the last ones to form or erupt.
Must they always be removed?
Frequently, the wisdom teeth are trapped below the gums, creating a space where bacteria can grow and cause pain, infection and tooth decay. Commonly, the wisdom teeth are removed to avoid more serious problems later.
How do I know if they need to be removed?
During your regular checkups, your dentist will advise you about the need and timing of your wisdom teeth removal. Pain and inflammation may be other clues, along with partially visible wisdom teeth and crowded, overlapping front teeth.
At what age should wisdom teeth be removed?
Wisdom teeth are typically removed during the early- or mid-teen years. The older one gets, the more potential for problems and complication.
How are wisdom teeth removed?
Using local and/or general anesthetics, first the gum tissue is incised and the wisdom teeth extracted. The extraction sites are usually closed with stitches for rapid healing.
What is the recovery time?
Usually the first six to eight hours after extraction are the most difficult. Swelling and pain may continue for a few days, however, but ice packs and pain medication help to limit the discomfort.