Wisdom Tooth Problems
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the upper and lower third molars, located at the very back of the mouth. They are called wisdom teeth because usually they come in between ages 17 and 21—when a person is old enough to have gained some wisdom.
What causes problems with wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth that are healthy and in the right position usually don't cause problems. You may have a problem if any of the following occur:
What are the symptoms?
If your wisdom teeth are causing problems, you may have symptoms such as:
Most problems with wisdom teeth affect people between the ages of 15 and 25. People older than 30 usually don't have problems that require their wisdom teeth to be removed.
How are problems with wisdom teeth diagnosed?
Your dentist will check for signs of a wisdom tooth coming through your gum or crowding other teeth. You will have X-rays to find out if your wisdom teeth are causing problems now or are likely to cause problems in the future.
How are they treated?
Wisdom teeth that cause problems should be removed, or extracted. This can be done by a dentist or an oral surgeon.
The dentist or surgeon will open the gum tissue over the tooth if needed and remove the tooth. Sometimes a tooth will be cut into smaller pieces to make it easier to take out. After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches.
If you have an infection, you may need to wait until it is gone before you have your wisdom teeth removed. The dentist or surgeon may prescribe antibiotics to help clear up the infection.
While you wait to have the teeth removed, you can take steps to reduce pain and swelling.
Don't put an aspirin directly on your gums. Aspirin used in this way can damage your gums.
Should wisdom teeth be taken out if they aren't causing problems?
Experts don't agree about whether it's a good idea to routinely remove wisdom teeth that aren't causing problems.
Your dentist can help you decide what's right for you.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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