If you find yourself saying “my gums behind my molars hurt”, this is likely caused by your wisdom teeth. These are the last molars to erupt, and are often troublesome for many patients. The pain in your gums indicate that the teeth have become impacted, and may need to be extracted.

Do I have wisdom teeth?

It is easy to check to see if your wisdom teeth have already come in. Simply look at your molars in the mirror. If you have three or four, then your wisdom teeth have come in. If you are over the age of 23, and you still do not have your wisdom teeth, it is important to see your dentist. Your wisdom teeth may be impacted, or they may have developed at an angle that makes it impossible for them to erupt properly.

Will all wisdom teeth need to be extracted?

In many cases, wisdom teeth develop and erupt properly, causing no problems. In these instances, the teeth will be left alone. However, many patients find that even when their wisdom teeth do erupt properly, they may overcrowd the other teeth. You may also find that a wisdom tooth has only partially erupted, which can cause the surrounding gum tissue to become inflamed and more prone to infection. The gums may even begin to grow back over the tooth. In these cases, you will need to have your wisdom teeth extracted.

In other cases, you may find that your wisdom tooth has erupted at a strange angle, making it difficult to brush properly, or even chew your food. This leaves them and your other molars more prone to cavities and tooth decay. In some cases, even if a wisdom tooth has erupted properly, it may still need to be removed simply because it is hard to reach and difficult to clean properly, leaving you open to tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.

How is a wisdom tooth extracted?

A wisdom tooth extraction is a fairly common and simple process. You will be given a local anesthetic (or placed under general anesthesia if you prefer), and the dentist will gently loosen the tooth. Once loose, the tooth will be elevated slightly, and then removed from its socket. Some teeth will require stitches in order to ensure proper healing, however this is fairly uncommon. If you are having more than one tooth extracted, your dentist may recommend that you schedule more than one appointment.

What is recovering from a wisdom tooth extraction like?

It should only take around 48 to 72 hours for you to recover from having your tooth extracted. During this time, you may have minor bleeding at the site of your tooth extraction, but this should only last for 24 hours or so. An over-the-counter pain medication may be taken, or you may be given a prescription pain medicine to help you remain comfortable during the healing process.

Following your appointment, you will need to avoid eating or drinking for a short period of time to allow a blood clot to form at the extraction site. You may also be given a special list of instruction to follow when caring for your teeth during the healing period to lessen your risk of developing any complications.

What are the potential complications of wisdom teeth extraction?

In general, having your wisdom tooth removed will be an uncomplicated experience. However, on occasion, problems can occur during the healing period following the procedure. This usually occurs in the form of a condition known as dry socket, which occurs when the blood clot either never forms properly or becomes dislodged somehow. This can be quite painful, and should be treated immediately to prevent future dental issues. In most cases, the dentist will provide you with some packing materials, or may stimulate your gums to form a new blood clot.

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