Wisdom teeth refer to the third molars, which are the teeth located at the back part of the mouth. These teeth can have the tendency to move sideways instead of pushing upwards from below the gum line; when the wisdom teeth do not erupt fully from below the gum line and instead grow sideways, they push against the surrounding teeth causing extreme pain. The portion of the tooth that abnormally stays under the gum line is called impacted and can be very difficult to clean; this problem can also cause tooth decay in the long run.
Wisdom teeth extraction is needed to remove the impacted wisdom tooth that is causing pain and discomfort; the extraction is also done in cases when the tooth is already decayed to ensure that the decay or any infection does not spread further to the surrounding teeth, and to the gums. The removal of the impacted tooth is also needed to prevent this tooth from pushing and moving the surrounding teeth to improperly aligned positions.
The removal of an impacted wisdom tooth is a minor surgical procedure, as it involves making an incision of the gums to gain access to the tooth under the gum line. Before the incision is made, the gums will be injected with an anaesthetic to make sure that the patient will not feel any pain or discomfort throughout the tooth extraction. Nervous patients may also have conscious sedation prior to the actual tooth removal, along with the local anaesthetic, so that the procedure can be worry-free as well as pain-free.
The surgical removal of the impacted tooth starts with the gum incision so that the affected tooth can easily be accessed. The wisdom tooth is carefully removed; in cases when it will be very difficult to extract the tooth in one piece, it may be cut into smaller pieces which will be easier to extract successfully. After the removal of all of the pieces of the impacted tooth, the gums will be stitched closed to facilitate healing.
Vigorous physical activities should be avoided right after the extraction of a wisdom tooth, as strenuous activities may cause the extraction site to bleed more profusely. Adequate rest is recommended after the surgical procedure. A diet made up of soft food items, as well as cold food and drinks (such as ice cream) will help with the blood clotting process to hasten the overall healing.