Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the final
teeth to develop. Most of us have four wisdom
teeth, one in each corner of the mouth. They
usually emerge during our late teens or early
Often times, wisdom teeth become trapped
or impacted in the jawbone or simply fail
to erupt. This can cause crowding or displacement
of other teeth or lead to the development
of localized tooth decay, infection, or gum
disease. Impacted wisdom teeth are set in
the jawbone in unusual positions, sometimes
horizontally, which stops them from erupting
in a normal way.
Angular, bony impaction of third molar
Soft tissue impaction of third molar.
In most cases, it is recommended that impacted
wisdom teeth be extracted. Depending on the
position of the tooth, third molar or wisdom
tooth removal can be performed in your dentistís
office, at an outpatient surgical facility,
or in a hospital.
An incision is made and overlying soft tissue
and bone are removed, exposing the crown
of the impacted tooth.
The tooth is extracted whole or surgically
cut into large pieces, which can be removed
separately if the entire tooth cannot be
removed at once. The site is closed with
If the tooth is not impacted, extraction
is the same as with other teeth.
To ease any discomfort and promote healing:
Use ice packs on the cheek for swelling,
alternating on and off every thirty minutes
Apply biting pressure with clean gauze to
Eat soft foods and drink extra liquids
Avoid hard or crunchy foods in the tender
Brush carefully the day after surgery
Take prescribed medications and follow all
Avoid the use of drinking straws to preserve
the blood clot in the tooth socket
Your dentist may recommend use of a therapeutic
Call your dentist or physician immediately
in case of excessive bleeding, swelling,
persistent or severe pain, or fever.
Be sure to follow the special home care instructions
provided by your dental professional.