Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth (third molars) are located behind all other teeth. They appear between the ages of 17-25, if at all - they do not in some 35% of people.

Wisdom Teeth Extraction: Why

Extraction of wisdom teeth usually targets impacted teeth, which cannot rise through the gums for lack of space. If ignored, impacted wisdom teeth pose several problems:

impacted wisdom tooth
  • pain
  • infection (since cleaning is difficult)
  • damage to jaw or neighboring teeth
  • misalignment of existing teeth

However, wisdom tooth removal takes place even if none of these problems has arisen. The main rationale is to prevent them from arising. Yet this is controversial, with dental experts disagreeing as to whether it is wise to remove an asymptomatic wisdom tooth. Your dentist can make a clearer reccomendation for your particular case.

Recovery

young man smiling

Recovery from wisdom teeth extraction takes about one week, though gums only fully heal in one month. If a necessary surgery has damaged the jaw, recovery actually requires several months.

You can relieve the effects of having removed a wisdom tooth in several ways, especially in the first 24 hours. To relieve swelling of face, apply ice pack to area – better, have ice cream! To arrest bleeding, place gauze on top and bite gently for at least 20 minutes. To alleviate pain, acetaminophen or ibuprofen are appropriate.

Cost

Removing a wisdom tooth costs $150 - $500 or more, depending on the case. An impacted tooth lodged deep in the jaw, for example, is complicated to extract and costs more. X-rays, sedation, and possible surgery cost extra. Dental insurance plans typically pay a portion of the cost.