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Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom Teeth, also called third molars, are often extracted either before or after they come in. They commonly come in during the late teens or early 20s. They need to be removed if they are decayed, cause pain or have a cyst or infection.

These teeth often do not have room to erupt (impacted) and do not come in. This can irritate the gum tissue, causing pain and swelling. In this case, it is best for the tooth to be removed. If you need all four wisdom teeth removed, they are usually taken out at the same time.

If you are having wisdom teeth removed, you may have a panoramic X-ray. This X-ray takes a picture of all of your teeth and jaws at once. It can show several things that help to guide an extraction:

  • The relationship of your wisdom teeth to your other teeth
  • The upper wisdom teeth’s relationship to your sinuses
  • The lower wisdom teeth’s relationship to a nerve in the jawbone that gives feeling to your lower jaw, lower teeth, lower lip and chin. This nerve is called the inferior alveolar nerve.
  • The presence of other problems such as infections, tumors or bone disease.