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Wisdom teeth are the upper and lower third molars. These teeth are at the very back of your mouth. They are the last teeth to surface in the mouth. They are called wisdom teeth because they usually come in when a person is between 17 and 21 years old.
Some people have their wisdom teeth for their entire life. Other people may not have room for these teeth. They may have their wisdom teeth removed to avoid pressure, pain, infection, or damage to other teeth. Your dentist may recommend these teeth be taken out before they break through the gums.
An oral surgeon or dentist can remove wisdom teeth. The procedure can be done in the dentist's or surgeon's office. Your dentist will talk to you about the risks to keeping your wisdom teeth or having them taken out.
You may have some pain, bleeding, or swelling after the procedure. The dentist may give you medicine for pain. The pain should steadily decrease in the days after your wisdom teeth have been removed. It is important to follow the instructions from your dentist. This will help you have a fast recovery with few or no problems.
Your dentist will open up the gum tissue over the tooth and take out any bone that is covering the tooth. The dentist will separate the tissue that connects the tooth to the bone. Then the dentist will remove the tooth. The tooth may be cut into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove.
After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. Some stitches dissolve over time. Some stitches have to be removed after a few days. Your dentist will tell you if your stitches need to be removed.
A wisdom tooth is extracted to correct an actual problem or to prevent problems that may come up in the future. Some of the problems that can occur when wisdom teeth come in are:
Wisdom tooth removal usually is effective in preventing:
After a wisdom tooth is removed, you may experience:
Dental surgery may cause bacteria in the mouth to enter the bloodstream and cause infections in other parts of the body. Before your procedure, talk to your dentist or oral surgeon about every health condition you have and all the medicines you take (including over-the-counter and herbal medicines). This is important for your safety, to prevent problems, and for a quick recovery.
Anesthetic (local and/or general) almost always is used during the extraction procedure. All surgeries, including oral surgery, that use general anesthetic have a small risk of death or other complications.
Adaptation Date: 1/24/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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