Referred to as the third molars in medical terms, wisdom teeth are the last sets of molars on the gums. They begin growing during teenage hood but do not fully emerge until one is in their late teens or early twenties. Wisdom teeth are four in number, two on each side of the mouth; one on the upper gum and the other on the lower gum. Since wisdom teeth develop long after all the other teeth have developed, there is little space to accommodate them in some cases.
Where this happens, they grow in the wrong place and are often misaligned. Misaligned wisdom teeth are referred to as impacted teeth. There are four different types of impacted teeth, depending on how the teeth have developed. Impacted wisdom teeth are prone to infection and swelling. They can also be painful. In most people though, wisdom teeth grow normally and are not a problem.
The best remedy for impacted wisdom teeth is extraction. Extraction is done just as happens with other molars, where an anesthetic is given and special teeth forceps used to extract the tooth. However, if the impaction is deep, it might be difficult to loosen the tooth from its socket. In this case, the dentist will cut through the gums, removing some jawbone if necessary in order to reach the tooth. The tooth is then removed and the wound closed up for healing. The most complex procedure will take about 20 minutes. Simple wisdom teeth extraction takes only a few minutes.
Extraction of wisdom teeth seldom has complications but one will experience general side effects which may include pain, stiff jaws, bruising and swelling of the face. If you run a high temperature, have breathing or swallowing difficulties, excessive bleeding for over half an hour or swelling that doesnâ€™t go away after two days, consult your dentist as it could be a sign of complications. You will also be required to take soft foods and drinks, graduating to solid solids as the stiffness disappear.