What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are also known as third molars. They erupt around the age of 18-25. You normally have one wisdom tooth in each quadrant of the mouth. Not everyone has all four wisdom teeth, though, and others may have more than four!
Is it necessary to remove them?
If a wisdom tooth is erupted straight in the arch, or is completely buried in bone, it may not be necessary to remove them. Often, however, wisdom teeth are impacted (grow sideways) as they do not have enough space to erupt straight. In such situations, they can cause food traps which may result in pericoronitis (a gum infection) or decay on the wisdom tooth or the second molar in front of it. Removal will then be advised.
How are they removed?
Impacted wisdom teeth often require surgical removal. A small flap is cut in the gums to expose the whole wisdom tooth. Some bone may need to be removed and the wisdom tooth may need to be cut into a few pieces before it can be extracted. The gums will then be sutured to seal the extraction cavity.
What to expect after extraction?
There may be some discomfort and swelling for the next 3-5 days. Your dentist will prescribe painkillers to make you more comfortable. You may also need a mouthwash and a course of antibiotics. There may also be some food stuck in the extraction site which you will need to wash away. You will need to return 1 week later to have the sutures removed.