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 twenties.

Oftentimes, wisdom teeth become trapped, or impacted in the jawbone and cause crowding, displacement, decay, infection or gum disease. Impacted wisdom teeth can grow in many different directions – horizontally, vertically, or at an angle

Angular, bony impaction of the third molar (wisdom tooth).

Soft tissue impaction of the third molar (wisdom tooth).

 

Procedure

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

The tooth is extracted, usually surgically sectioned, but sometimes whole. The surgical site is then sutured closed.

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 sterile gauze to stop bleeding for thirty to forty-five minutes.
  • Don’t rinse your mouth, drink through a straw , spit forcefully or smoke the day of the surgery. These actions may restart the bleeding, impede healing and encourage formation of a dry socket.
  • Eat soft foods and drink extra liquids. Avoid hard or crunchy foods in the tender area
  • Begin rinsing, as directed, the day after the surgery. It is very important to keep food particles from collecting at the surgical site.
  • Brush carefully the day after surgery.
  • Take prescribed medications and follow all instructions as directed.

Call your doctor immediately in case of excessive bleeding or swelling, persistent severe pain or fever.

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