Wisdom Teeth

  • Wisdom teeth are third molars, found far back in the mouth.

    Wisdom teeth can become impacted, or stuck beneath the bone or gum. In some people, impaction may cause no symptoms. In other people, impaction may cause discomfort or pain.

    Some dentists claim that impaction works its mischief surreptitiously, causing irreversible damage before the dentist or patient notices anything wrong - unless the impacted teeth are pulled first. Many dentists extract all impacted wisdom teeth, regardless of whether they're causing any problems.

    Others go further, removing any wisdom teeth during adolescence that look as if they might become impacted. Some dentists even pull wisdom teeth that have grown in normally to ease crowding of the other teeth.

    Overall, oral surgeons yank more than two million wisdom teeth each year in the U.S., and general dentists probably pull far more than that. But removing an impacted wisdom tooth is no ordinary extraction, since the dentist or surgeon has to slice into the gum or bone, which may make you quite uncomfortable for several days, and it can cause persistent pain, infection, and even permanent numbness of the lip or tongue.

    At what age do wisdom teeth first appear?

    What is your opinion about extracting wisdom teeth?

    Is there anything that can be done to prevent problems with my wisdom teeth?

    If extraction is necessary, what is the procedure?

    How long does the procedure take?

    Will pain medication be prescribed? If so, which one? How effective is the medication?

    How long is the recuperation time?