Curious about “wisdom teeth”? The dental professionals at Crest/P&G and share with us all we wanted to know and more about wisdom teeth!

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the final teeth to develop in the mouth, usually in our late teens or early twenties. The 4 wisdom teeth are the last teeth in the back of your mouth – top and bottom. Not everyone has wisdom teeth and if they do not crowd other teeth, they can stay and act like other molars for chewing food.

Wisdom Teeth Pain and Infection

Often times, wisdom teeth become trapped in the jawbone and don’t break through the gum tissue. Sometimes wisdom teeth are crooked and cause cavities or gum disease. If wisdom teeth are crooked, blocked by other teeth or have a flap of gum tissue on top, plaque and food can enter around the tooth and cause cavities, gum disease or wisdom tooth infection.

X-rays are taken to see if you have wisdom teeth and how they are placed in your jawbone.

Do Wisdom Teeth have to be removed?

In many cases, it is a good idea that trapped wisdom teeth be extracted. Taking out the wisdom tooth can be done in an oral surgeon’s office.

Wisdom Teeth1

Angular, bony impaction of third molar (wisdom tooth)

Wisdom Teeth2

Soft tissue impaction of third molar.

Wisdom Teeth3

An incision is made and overlying soft tissue and bone are removed, exposing the crown of the impacted tooth.

Wisdom Teeth4

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 stitches.

Tips for a Speedy Recovery:

  • Use ice packs on the cheek for swelling, putting the pack on for 30 minutes and leaving it off for 30 minutes
  • Bite on clean gauze to stop bleeding
  • Eat soft foods and drink extra liquids
  • Don’t chew hard or crunchy foods in tender areas
  • Brush carefully the day after surgery
  • Follow the instructions for taking any medications your dentist recommends
  • Don’t use drinking straws as the suction can dislodge the blood clot in the tooth socket
  • Don’t drink hot liquids
  • Your dentist may tell you to use a mouthwash

Call your dentist or oral surgeon right away if you have excess bleeding, swelling, severe pain, or fever. It will take several weeks to months for the mouth to heal completely after the wisdom teeth have been removed.

Be sure to follow the special home care instructions provided by your dental professional.

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