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Wisdom Teeth

No matter what anyone tells you, your wisdom teeth do not make you smarter! Wisdom teeth are the last of the permanent teeth to erupt.
The late teen years and into early adulthood is when wisdom teeth typically begin to erupt. Located behind the molars, these teeth are sometimes referred to as the third molars. Oftentimes wisdom teeth don't actually erupt because they are extracted before they have a chance. Since they are the last to make their appearance in a mouth that's fairly full already, there sometimes isn't enough room in the mouth for the wisdom teeth to take their place. When there is no room for these teeth to emerge, they are considered impacted. Sometimes, when wisdom teeth try to erupt even though there isn't enough room, they end up in a sideways position, still unable to erupt. There may or may not be pain when wisdom teeth are impacted. If these teeth do make an attempt at erupting, the gum might begin to feel swollen and possibly even painful. These attempts sometimes cause pain in the jaw or the surrounding teeth which is another reason why these teeth are extracted. Infections and tooth decay can form when a wisdom tooth only partially erupts which is why extraction typically is the preferred alternative in this case. And when wisdom teeth look for routes through which they can erupt, their search can cause other teeth to move out of place in response. Problems with chewing can arise when teeth don't line up properly, and that's yet one more reason why extracting wisdom teeth may be necessary. To date there is no procedure available that can move a wisdom tooth into the correct position so that it erupts where and how it should. Therefore, when it comes to the wisdom teeth, there usually is just one decision to make – to extract or not to extract. An x-ray of the area is the most reliable way of determining whether extraction of the wisdom teeth is necessary. The x-ray can see below the gums where the naked eye cannot. The x-ray will show the location and positioning of the wisdom tooth and will also show whether or not there is enough room for the wisdom teeth to properly erupt. If it is decided that extraction is required, when and were the procedure takes place will depend on the number of teeth to be extracted and how far below the gum line they are located. The person's overall tolerance to pain and his or her degree of anxiety will also be evaluated. Sometimes the procedure can take place in the dentist's office in about a half an hour or less. Other times, however, it makes more sense to visit a surgeon so that all wisdom teeth can be removed. In this case, the person will be sedated and given a local anesthesia. There likely will be pain after surgery, but it should go away in a few days.