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Wisdom Teeth


1. What are the wisdom teeth?

Third molars, commonly knows as  withdom teeth, grow at the back of the dental arch after the second molars. An adult usually has four, but this can vary from person to person, with some people having only three or two, others having one, or none at all. They appear at the panoramic Xray as germs during adolescence and usually do not erupt until between 18 and 20 years of age. 

2. What are the symptoms of wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth can be impacted (hidden under the gums) or semi-impacted (partially visible). 
Associated symptoms may include:

  • a painful gum with redness (inflammation) and swelling around the area of the impacted tooth

  • pain felt or radiated in the jaw area 

  • a feeling of pulsation in or near the affected tooth

  • headaches

  • a strange taste or chronic bad breath (halitosis)

  • a visible or non-visible infection, with potentially, for an extracted tooth, accumulation of dental plaque and decay

  • a decrease in the opening of the mouth

3. Why to remove the wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth need to be extracted:

  • when they don't have room to come out normally or have the wrong axis

  • when they create recurrent pain

  • in case of inflammation and infection of the gum around the partially erupted tooth

  • if there is bone loss or decay on the adjacent tooth.

They can be removed preventively to prevent

  • cavities: partially impacted wisdom teeth are more difficult to clean and are more likely to trap food and bacteria between the gum and the partially erupted tooth. In addition, they can lean against the second molar, which can lead to decay and even root resorption.

  • Gum disease: as with cavities, the difficulty of cleaning semi-included wisdom teeth increases the risk of inflammation or infection of the tissues surrounding the tooth (pericoronitis).

  • Cysts: it can happen that a wisdom tooth develops in a sac in the jawbone; this sac, when it fills with liquid, becomes a cyst that can damage the surrounding structures (bone, neighboring tooth, gum).

4. At what age to extract wisdom teeth?

In general, wisdom teeth grow in between the ages of 17 and 23. However, a clinical and radiological examination should be performed around the age of 15/16; your dentist will be able to determine if an operation is necessary and extract the problematic wisdom teeth in a way that is normally easier because they are shorter and half formed. 
Although the ideal age to remove wisdom teeth is between 15 and 20 years old, it should be noted that they can be removed at any age.

5. How is wisdom teeth surgery performed?

The procedure begins with generally a local anaesthetic. The dentist then opens the gum and bursts a little the bone around the tooth to extract the tooth. Sometimes the tooth is cut into several pieces to make it easier to remove. AT the end of the surgery, the gum is stiched back in place.

6. What are the indications after wisdom teeth extraction?

Each patient reacts differently to a tooth extraction. During the first few days, postoperative discomfort may be experienced:

  • pain (apply ice to the cheek)

  • swelling in the cheeks

  • infection (treat with anti-biotics)

  • bleeding.


The socket (the hole left by the tooth) fills with a blood clot and will gradually turn into bone and new gum. 


Certain precautions should be taken during the first few days to avoid complications: :

  • do not smoke,

  • avoid mouthwash,

  • do not consume hot food or drinks,

  • Do not smoke, avoid mouthwash, do not consume hot food or drinks, prefer chopped food if your jaw is painful,

  • Brush your teeth in a normal way.


Two or three days after the operation, the alveolus of the tooth may become inflamed and cause severe pain: this is alveolitis. It is accompanied by the loss of the blood clot. While waiting for your dental appointment, take painkillers and antibiotics. The dentist will clean the cavity and may perform a curettage to restart the bleeding and the formation of a new blood clot.

Other links that might also interest you

  • Dental prostheses

  • Crowns

  • Bridge

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