What are third molars?
Third molars, are the back teeth that come through late in your teens and also known as wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth do often become impacted (grow into position incorrectly) due to a lack of space in the dental arch. Other reasons wisdom teeth become impacted are because of overlying gum or bone or the placement of another tooth close by.
If a wisdom tooth does become impacted it can be very painful and lead to an infection. The worst-case scenario is that impacted wisdom teeth can be associated with the growth of cysts or even tumours. You will need to seek advise and help from a dentist if this happens.
If a wisdom tooth does make it through, it might crowd or damage other teeth or even the roots of adjacent teeth. When crowding occurs you may be advised by your dentist to have the third molars removed to stop them from pushing all your other teeth out of alignment and causing other serious dental problems.
As the wisdom teeth grow their roots become longer and more embedded in the jaw, which make they more difficult to take out. As a result this is why it is recommended that wisdom teeth be removed when the roots are one-third to two-thirds formed. This is usually around the ages of 17 to 20 years old. After this time the roots are fully-grown and the teeth are much more difficult to remove.
Even if your wisdom teeth are not causing any pain, it’s worth going to the dentist and getting an x-ray to establish whether removal of the wisdom teeth is recommended for you.
What happens when third molars get removed?
Having wisdom teeth pulled will cause swelling and some pain afterwards. Sometimes there can be some bleeding. Be careful not to disturb the blood clot protecting the wound. This means you will have to avoid solid food, alcohol, coffee, warm drinks in general, and soft drinks for a few days after the extraction. Brushing your teeth is not advised on the first day of recovery.
The recovery time after having your wisdom teeth out is usually three to four days after the procedure, but can vary based on your own body’s ability to heal quickly.
Take it easy for a few days after getting your third molars out and you can take painkillers from the chemist or get pain relief prescribed for you. The swelling will reduce if you put an ice pack on your jaw. The use of an ice pack will also help relive discomfort.
If you notice any unusual symptoms, contact your dentist in case of the occurrence of infection.