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-old enough to have gained some "wisdom."
Some people have their wisdom teeth for their entire life. Other people choose to have their wisdom teeth removed. Some people have these teeth 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. You may have the procedure in the hospital, if you are having all your wisdom teeth pulled at one time.
Your dentist will open up the gum tissue over the tooth and take out any bone that is covering the tooth. He or she 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.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & A. Evan Eyler, MD, MPH - Family Medicine, Psychiatry
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