Overview

Wisdom teeth are also called third molars. Your wisdom teeth grow at the back of your gums and are the last teeth to come in your mouth. Wisdom teeth are the most neglected teeth because they are the last ones to erupt and the area is also difficult to clean.
Most people have 4 wisdom teeth, one in each corner. They tend to come through in the late teens or twenties. Sometimes, wisdom teeth do not come through fully (partially erupt) and get stuck (impacted) against nearby teeth or bone.


The most common problems with wisdom teeth are cavities and swelling of gums around them. Wisdom teeth are removed to avoid food and plaque deposits that lead to infection. Bacteria residing in and around wisdom teeth may contribute to systemic health problems including diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and other health problems.


wisdom-tooth-removal

When is wisdom tooth removal recommended?

Wisdom teeth removal is recommended in the following conditions

  • Swelling
  • Pus discharge
  • Repeated history of pain and discomfort
  • Cavities in the wisdom teeth
  • Tooth positioned in an angulated manner which is likely to cause problems
  • Tooth is close to the nerve
  • Localized gum infection
  • Damage to adjacent teeth due to angulated position
  • Any numbness noticed on the wisdom tooth region or over the skin
  • Any cysts or tumors below the tooth
  • Obstruction of placement of complete or partial denture
  • Sinus pain and nasal congestion

Frequently Asked Questions:

It depends on the path of eruption of wisdom tooth. In many instances, the mouth does not have enough space causing crowding of teeth. In such cases, the wisdom teeth need to be removed.

Your wisdom tooth and the region around it are numbed before the procedure. So the wisdom tooth removal is not painful. You may feel pressure when your dentist is removing the tooth but not pain. Once the procedure is complete, you will be given pain killers that begin acting before your numbness wears off.

Depending on the condition of your teeth, people of any age can have their wisdom teeth extracted. However the preferred age is between 18 to 24 years, when the root has developed to about two-thirds of its full size.

Dry sockets arise due to premature loss of blood clot in the empty tooth sockets. It is the most common problem experienced by patients following wisdom tooth surgery. This is more likely in individuals who take birth control pills or smoke.

As part of the treatment, a medicated dressing is placed in the empty tooth sockets. This helps relieve pain and protects the socket from food particles.

Citations:

  • https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/wisdom-teeth
  • https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/wisdom-teeth-extraction
  • https://www.mountsinai.org/care/ent/services/oral-maxillofacial-surgery/treatments/wisdom-tooth-extraction