Wisdom Tooth Removal
The wisdom tooth removal or third molar is one of the most standard surgical procedures. The wisdom tooth grows back of your gums and will be the last teeth to come through. Mostly, people will have four wisdom teeth, one in each corner.
The wisdom teeth will grow through the gums during the late teens or early twenties, and the other 28 adult teeth will be in place by this time. There will be insufficient room in the mouth for the growth of wisdom teeth, so due to lack of space, the wisdom teeth will emerge at an angle, get stuck, or partially emerge. These teeth are also known as impacted.
Reasons for wisdom tooth removal
Wisdom teeth don’t usually need removal if they are impacted and do not cause any problems. The procedure has no proven benefit, and it carries certain complications.
Sometimes, the wisdom tooth that has become impacted or hasn’t entirely broken through the gum’s surface can cause dental problems. When bacteria and food get trapped around the edges of the wisdom tooth, it can lead to:
- Tooth decay (dental caries)
- Gum disease or gingivitis, or periodontal disease
- Pericoronitis: When the plaque causes soft tissue infection that surrounds the tooth
- Cellulitis (cheek, throat, or tongue bacterial infection)
- Abscess (collection of puss near or in your wisdom tooth or bacterial infection to surrounding tissues)
- Cysts and benign growth (a fluid-filled swelling)
Most reasons are treatable with antibiotics and antiseptic mouthwash; wisdom tooth removal is only required when other treatments haven’t worked.
Possible wisdom tooth removal complications
Similar to all surgeries, there are risks with removing a wisdom tooth. These complications include infection or delayed healing (both can occur if you smoke during your recovery), and other possible complications are:
- Dry socket
- Gum or jaw aching sensation
- Bad taste or smell from the empty tooth socket
- Nerve damage (an infrequent complication)
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022