Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that emerge, usually during your late teens to early twenties. For some people the wisdom teeth emerge through the gums and have enough room to grow in naturally. For others, wisdom teeth often cause problems as they are trying to protrude through the gums. When a wisdom tooth is impacted the tooth is coming in at an angle and not straight through the gum line. This can cause pain, the tooth can come in unevenly, or the tooth may only emerge partially.
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause structural damage to the jaw and other teeth. They can also provide a place for bacteria to gather since they are hard to reach and clean. These potential problems make it necessary to remove impacted wisdom teeth so that larger problems do not arise. Routine x-rays during a dental exam can reveal if you will need to have your wisdom teeth removed.
Wisdom tooth extraction is a surgical procedure that requires some post-operative care to reduce the chance of infection or other complications. Immediately after surgery, a gauze pad will be placed over the extraction site, which should not be removed for at least 45 minutes, and then discarded after that. Refrain from drinking from a straw or rinsing the mouth to ensure that you do not dislodge the blood clot that has formed. Limit your activities for a few days. You can resume your regular activities after the recommended time frame by the doctor. Take the pain medication as prescribed to reduce the amount of discomfort you feel after the local anesthetic wears off. As with any oral surgery, follow all instructions given by the doctor, they are in place to insure the best possible recovery time for you.