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Home > Be Healthy > Health Library > Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Wisdom teeth are the upper and lower third molars. These teeth are at the very back of your mouth. They are the last teeth to surface in the mouth. They are called wisdom teeth because they usually come in when a person is between 17 and 21 years old.
Some people have their wisdom teeth for their entire life. Other people choose to have their wisdom teeth removed. Some people have these teeth taken out before they break through the gums.
An oral surgeon or dentist can remove wisdom teeth. The procedure can be done in the dentist's or surgeon's office. You may have the procedure in the hospital, if you are having all your wisdom teeth pulled at one time.
Your dentist will open up the gum tissue over the tooth and take out any bone that is covering the tooth. The dentist will separate the tissue that connects the tooth to the bone. Then the dentist will remove the tooth. The tooth may be cut into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove.
After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. Some stitches dissolve over time. Some stitches have to be removed after a few days. Your dentist will tell you if your stitches need to be removed.
A wisdom tooth is extracted to correct an actual problem or to prevent problems that may come up in the future. Some of the problems that can occur when wisdom teeth come in are:
Wisdom tooth removal usually is effective in preventing:
After a wisdom tooth is removed, you may experience:
Dental surgery may cause bacteria in the mouth to enter the bloodstream and cause infections in other parts of the body. People who have certain health conditions may need to take antibiotics before dental surgery. Such people include those who have had a heart valve repaired or replaced or were born with heart defects.
Anesthetic (local and/or general) almost always is used during the extraction procedure. All surgeries, including oral surgery, that use general anesthetic have a small risk of death or other complications.
Current as of:
June 30, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Adam Husney MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family MedicineArden Christen DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
Current as of: June 30, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Arden Christen DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
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