Wisdom tooth extraction is a surgical procedure to remove one or more wisdom teeth — the four permanent adult teeth located at the back corners of your mouth on the top and bottom.
If a wisdom tooth doesn’t have room to grow (impacted wisdom tooth), resulting in pain, infection or other dental problems, you’ll likely need to have it pulled. Wisdom tooth extraction may be done by a dentist or an oral surgeon.
To prevent potential future problems, some dentists and oral surgeons recommend wisdom tooth extraction even if impacted teeth aren’t currently causing problems.
Wisdom teeth is the commonly used term for ‘third molars’ – the large teeth right at the back of the mouth that come through last, usually between the ages of 17 and 25, though they can also erupt much later or not at all.
Why are they called “wisdom teeth”?
Back in the 17th century, these teeth were called the ‘teeth of wisdom’ as they appeared when you were no longer a child and theoretically wiser. In the 19th century, the term ‘teeth of wisdom’ transformed into ‘wisdom teeth’.
What other problems can wisdom teeth cause?
A wisdom tooth may appear through the gum with part of it still covered. This causes swelling and can be very painful. This condition called peritonitis can usually be easily fixed and cleared quickly by using correct brushing technique, mouthwash and sometimes an antibiotic if there are signs of infection. However, if the problem keeps recurring regularly, it may be time to have the tooth removed.
If a wisdom tooth is decayed due to the fact that it’s virtually impossible to clean, it may also be time for an extraction.