Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the final adult teeth to grow into the mouth. They usually erupt into the back of the mouth between the ages of 18-25, although they can come early and much later. There are up to four wisdom teeth, yet some people are born with none of them, and you can have any number in between.
When they grow into the mouth in the proper position, they generally do not cause any problems. However, if they are angled or do not fully erupt out of your gums, which is often the case, they can cause pain and swelling. These symptoms come and go, but they rarely go away completely unless the wisdom tooth is removed.
If wisdom tooth pain is diagnosed, your dentist will ask you to have a special X-ray taken called an OPG (orthopantomography). This OPG allows the dentist to see hidden wisdom teeth and surrounding structures. Wisdom teeth can grow near important structures in the face including sinuses, nerves and blood vessels that may be at risk of damage during the extraction process. The OPG allows the dentist to plan ahead to avoid these risks.
Extraction of your wisdom teeth can be slightly different from having other teeth removed. If they are angled, your dentist may have to remove them in several pieces instead of all in one piece. If the wisdom tooth is not fully erupted out of the gum, your dentist may have to cut away some gum or bone structure to expose the tooth first. The fact that this is often a more invasive procedure than regular extractions means healing after a wisdom tooth extraction often takes longer than with other teeth, sometimes up to 3 weeks.