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Wisdom teeth are known in clinical and dental terms as third molars. On average humans have four wisdom teeth, one for each quarter of the mouth.
They are the last teeth to erupt and they come through at the back of the mouth, behind the last standing teeth.

x-ray showing impacted wisdom teethThese teeth were named in the seventeenth century as “wisdom teeth” for that usually come out between the ages of 17 and 25, when a young person might be pursuing wisdom with higher education.
Not everyone has wisdom teeth. In fact, a study shows that up to 35% of people have missing wisdom teeth. The lack of wisdom teeth is related to genes.A study recently carried out by the Princeton University revealed that evolution has a large role to play in the absence of wisdom teeth. A dietary shift from meat to plant food and the growth of a larger brain has probably caused a genetic adaptation as the third set of molars was no longer needed.

Diagram showing impacted wisdom teethWisdom teeth may be present but never erupt if they are impacted. This means that they either don’t have enough space to grow into the jaw in a normal position, or they erupt at an angle or in an unexpected location.
Sometimes they can even grow horizontally or at an angle and get stuck behind the roots of your other molars. But even if the teeth come out correctly, there is still a potential for future problems as wisdom teeth are difficult to clean, so they could become decayed over time and even affect adjacent teeth.
That brings us to the next Frequently Asked Question.

Should people have their wisdom teeth removed?

Although some dentists recommend removing all wisdom teeth to avoid future problems, in our opinion they should be removed ONLY if there is a good clinical reason to do so.
If you experience pain while eating, this might be a reason to have your teeth taken out. Food could be getting stuck in between the gums and the tops of the teeth.Or the growing tooth might be pressing on the root of another tooth or develop a cyst.
If the wisdom teeth are difficult to clean and develop cavities, or cause you pain,it might be better to remove them. It is always best to have your dentist evaluate your wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth removal procedure

Molar tooth on a string pullWisdom teeth removal is a form of major surgery. While general anaesthesia or local anaesthesia options are used to make wisdom teeth removal a more comfortable procedure, pain and discomfort are a part of the process, especially after the anaesthesia wears off.
You dentist will normally prescribe painkillers, but you are still likely to experience pain and swelling. There may be some bleeding.
After surgical extractions, patients may discover tooth or pieces of the bone working their way to the surface of the extraction site (known as a “bone spur”). Don’t worry – this is a common occurrence.
When the tooth is being extracted, pieces of the tooth’s bony socket may break off during the process. These slivers cannot be integrated into the healing tissues so your body will naturally begin to eject them, causing them to penetrate through the gum tissue. They typically will fall out on their own if given enough time. If that bothers you, you may contact your dentist who will easily pull them out.
While your mouth heals, you have to be careful not to dislodge the blood clot or harm your healing gums.
If that clot becomes dislodged or aggravated, it will cause the bone and nerve to be exposed to air, fluids and food, causing an infection – or a dry socket. Dry socket symptoms could include severe radiating pain, bad breath and an unpleasant smell and taste in your mouth.

How to prevent developing a dry socket after the surgery

Lady with sore JawAvoid brushing your teeth for the first 24 hours. avoid spicy foods, anything with seeds, hard or chewy foods (like chips or crackers), acidic foods, fizzy drinks, and anything with small particles (for example – broccoli). Do not smoke.
We also recommend waiting three-four days following wisdom teeth removal to exercise or participate in any vigorous activity. Rest and recuperate. Apply ice packs to alleviate swelling.Your gums and jaw should normally heal within 7 – 10 days.
Typical recovery time after the wisdom teeth removal procedure is three to four days, although it can be as long as one week. The length of recovery depends a lot on how badly the teeth were impacted and how they were erupting.

Wisdom teeth removal recovery

Dry sockets typically occur three to four days after wisdom teeth removal. Some symptoms include pain that radiates to your ear and is not alleviated after taking pain medication, bad breath or an unpleasant taste/smell in your mouth. You may need to see your dentist again at this point.


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