Wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the final teeth to develop.  Most of us have four wisdom teeth, one in each corner of the mouth.  They usually emerge during our late teens or early twenties.

Oftentimes, wisdom teeth become trapped, or impacted, in the jawbone and cause crowding, displacement, decay, infection or gum disease.  Impacted wisdom teeth can grow in many different directions - horizontally, vertically, or at an angle.

Wisdom tooth surgery is performed, usually under local anesthesia, in your dentist's office, an outpatient surgical facility, or a hospital.

To ease the discomfort and promote healing:

  • Use ice packs on the cheek for swelling, alternating on and off every 15 minutes.
  • Apply biting pressure with clean gauze to stop bleeding.
  • Eat soft foods and drink extra liquids.
  • Avoid alcohol and carbonated drinks.
  • Avoid hard or crunchy foods in the tender area.
  • Brush carefully in the next few days after surgery.
  • Take prescribed medications and follow all instructions as directed.

Call your doctor immediately in case of excessive bleeding or swelling, persistent, severe pain or fever.