The last teeth to erupt in a person’s mouth are the wisdom teeth, or the third molars at the back of the mouth.
There are usually 4 of these molars – 2 on the top and 2 on the bottom – and they arrive later in life, usually between ages 17 and 25. For that reason, they are called wisdom teeth because we are older and wiser when these teeth appear.
Wisdom Teeth Can Be Problematic
Although some individuals get their wisdom teeth without any problems, for many they only partially emerge or come in crooked. These teeth are hard to clean and so are vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease.
In particular, wisdom teeth that only partially erupt or are covered by bone or gum tissue are called impacted wisdom teeth. These can cause pain, crowding, damage to other teeth and other dental problems.
Wisdom Teeth Extraction
If we observe that your wisdom teeth are impacted, or if they are coming in at an awkward angle, we will recommend that you see an oral surgeon for extraction.
Extracting the problematic wisdom teeth can prevent excessive crowding; infection; swollen and painful gums caused when a flap of skin remains around a partially-erupted tooth; tooth decay in the tooth which is harder to clean; gum disease in the jaw in the area of the tooth.
After the extraction, you may need a few stitches. Keeping folded gauze over the wound will help stop the bleeding.
You’ll need to take care of yourself for a few days after the surgery, including:
- No smoking.
- Applying an ice pack to the outside of your check for the first 24 hours.
- Eating soft foods – add more solid foods as your healing progresses.
- Warm salt water rinses several times a day after the first day.
If necessary, the stitches will be taken out after a few days.
If you believe that you are having problems with a wisdom tooth, or if your child complains of pain or discomfort in that area, please contact us right away for an evaluation.
Let Us Know If You Have Questions on Any Aspect of Oral Health Care
Dr. Lorraine Burio of Candlewood Dental Care has been treating and educating patients for over twenty-five years. Our office serves the New Fairfield, New Milford, Danbury, and Sherman areas of CT and Pawling, Patterson and Putnam Lake of New York. You can call us at 203-746-1200 or make an appointment here.