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Wisdom teeth

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There are 3 molars that emerge in each quadrant of the mouth and wisdom teeth are nothing but the third molar. It usually grows between the age 17-25 and since an individual gains considerably more intelligence and wisdom during this period, this set of teeth is named as wisdom teeth.

Do they grow normally?

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to come out. There are four wisdom teeth that grow in each corner of the mouth (2 on top 2 on bottom), precisely at the back of the gum. Unfortunately, in most cases they do not pop out normally. This happens because, by the time wisdom teeth mature, there’s hardly any space inside the mouth for proper growth of the teeth. The teeth get stuck between other teeth and fail to emerge properly. Such kind of growth is known as impacted wisdom tooth.

Why are wisdom teeth removed?

Removal of wisdom teeth is a very common dental procedure. When the teeth get impacted it’s most likely to break and subsequently give rise to dental implications. Since, they are located at the back of the mouth, it’s difficult to brush them properly. As a result, food and other particles accumulate constantly which subsequently leads to tooth decay, plaque build up, gum diseases, bleeding, etc.

This is the reason why impacted wisdom teeth are removed.

Is it mandatory to remove wisdom teeth?

No. Your wisdom teeth may not be problematic. If it grows normally and gets accommodated properly in the gum without causing any major problems, then you may not need to remove it.

Symptoms of wisdom teeth growth

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The condition is painful only when the impacted wisdom teeth are infected. People normally experience the following symptoms:

  • Swollen, pain and redness in gum
  • Bleeding from gum
  • Headache
  • Pain in jaw
  • Difficulty in chewing
  • Unpleasant taste inside mouth
  • Foul breath

When to see a doctor?

You need to see your doctor if you are experiencing pain in your gum and wisdom teeth. Since, these are the characteristic symptoms of wisdom teeth growth, you need to get a dental check up done.

How are they diagnosed?

Your dentist will check the condition of the teeth and the gum to confirm if it’s the wisdom tooth that is causing the problem. He/she will look up to the symptoms and a dental x-ray may be suggested before operating the wisdom teeth.

How are wisdom teeth removed?

Your dental surgeon will suggest a surgery for the infected wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth removal entails extracting the tooth. Local anaesthesia is given to your gum and you may be administered a mild sedative as well.

An incision is made in the gum and the teeth are pulled out. The wound is then stitched. In some cases, a cut may not be required and the wisdom teeth can be removed just like any other basic tooth extraction technique.

What to expect after the surgery?

It can take 2 weeks to recover completely from the surgery. During this period you will experience pain and swelling inside the mouth. You may be prescribed pain killers to combat the pain. Your dentist will explain you the after-care methods for quick recovery.

Post operative care for wisdom teeth removal

  • Take cold compress on your face to reduce swelling
  • Do not drink hot food and hot liquid, spit or rinse your mouth within 24 hours
  • Eat soft, liquid and cold food for a few days until the pain subsides
  • Avoid moving your jaws and strenuous activities for some time
  • No smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Rinse the wound with the antiseptic suggested by your dentist

All in all, it’s suggested to visit your dentist every six months to rule out any complications associated with your wisdom teeth or any other teeth. Listen to your dentist to know what is right for your wisdom teeth.    

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 17, 2015