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Third molars

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Third molars generally referred as ‘wisdom teeth’ are sometimes associated with incomplete eruption and pain in that region. Such a tooth, which has failed to erupt completely is called an impacted tooth. The impacted third molars may either be asymptomatic or may result in gum inflammation and pain. Generally, the third molars become impacted owing to the decrease in the jaw size. Such a tooth may lean on to the adjacent tooth leading to the formation of cavity in that tooth. Partially erupted tooth may have some amount of gum covering leading to a pocket where food may get lodged and cause pain or swelling over time.1 Pain in the posterior most portion of the mouth and difficulty in opening the mouth are suggestive of an impacted wisdom tooth.

Asymptomatic impacted wisdom teeth may be left in place while symptomatic ones may require intervention. At times, removal of the gum covering the wisdom teeth may be the only treatment required. In other cases, complete removal of the wisdom tooth is advised. Impacted wisdom teeth are generally removed by experienced dental surgeons or maxillofacial surgeons. Time required for removal of such tooth depends on its placement within the jaw-bone. If deeply situated, the covering bone may need to be cleared before removal. At times, the tooth is cut in half to aid in easier removal. The surgeon may place a stitch after removal of the tooth to ensure faster healing of the extraction wound.2

Removal of wisdom teeth is generally associated with minor complications such as swelling and inability to open the mouth following removal.3 However, these subside within a few hours to 1–2 days. A course of antibiotics, painkillers and drugs to reduce the inflammation are generally started 1–2 days prior to the procedure and continued for 3–4 days after the procedure.

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Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: December 05, 2013