Wisdom teeth commonly erupt between the ages of 18 to 24 years of age.
It is common for wisdom teeth to be impacted, meaning there is either not enough space for them to erupt or the teeth do not erupt into the right position even if space is available.
The reasons for not having this space are mostly due to genetics.
Wisdom teeth are often extracted if any of the following problems are occurring:
When an impacted wisdom tooth begins to push through the gums, an infection can start around the gum overlying the top of the tooth. Infection and inflammation (swollen red gums) may cause pain, swelling and jaw stiffness.
A wisdom tooth may look to push against nearby teeth because it is erupting at the wrong angle.
Sacs of fluid called cysts can form around the tooth and may displace the tooth. The cysts can destroy bone and damage surrounding teeth and gums.
An impacted wisdom tooth is often in close contact with the molar in front of it. This often leads to serious decay to both teeth.
The difficulty of the extraction procedure determines whether they can be extracted at the surgery or in a hospital. Your dentist can discuss your options with you. It is also important to know the complications associated with the procedure, so please ask.
Post-operative care following a tooth extraction is essential for healing and preventing complications. You will be instructed to avoid certain foods and also keep the surgical site clean at all times. If you are prescribed an antibiotic, it is important that you complete the course of treatment to prevent infection. Finally, smokers are advised to avoid smoking as smoking may delay the healing process and cause a painful condition known as ‘dry socket.’