The removal of wisdom teeth has become so commonplace that is almost a rite of passage for young adults. Wisdom teeth are the molars that are found in the very back of your mouth. There are four wisdom teeth: upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right. These teeth usually appear in the late teens or early twenties but may become impacted (fail to erupt) due to lack of room in the jaw or the angle of entry.
When a tooth is impacted, it may need to be removed. If it is not removed, you may develop gum tenderness, swelling, or even severe pain. Impacted wisdom teeth that are partially erupted tend to be quite difficult to clean and are susceptible to tooth decay, recurring infections, and even gum disease.
Each patient's situation is unique, and your dentist will take X-rays and discuss your particular needs with you. If your dentist recommends removal of your wisdom teeth, it is best to have them removed sooner rather than later. As a general rule, wisdom teeth are removed in the late teens or early twenties because there is a greater chance that the teeth's roots have not fully formed and the bone surrounding the teeth is less dense. These two factors can make extractions easier.
Once the teeth have been extracted, the healing process begins. Healing time varies depending on the degree of difficulty related to the extraction. Your dentist will share with you what to expect and provide instructions for efficient healing.