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Wisdom Teeth Removal

Prevent further pain and complications.

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The Importance of Wisdom Teeth Removal

Closeup of x-ray image of teeth and mouth with all four wisdom teeth molars highlighted in red.

There’s simply not enough room in your jaw for your wisdom teeth to erupt without pain and discomfort. If they do begin to erupt without removal, they’ll only be able to come out about halfway. This makes them impossible to clean properly and can lead to serious oral health issues. Getting rid of your wisdom teeth as soon as possible can save you a lot of issues later on in life.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of molars to develop in the human mouth. They are called “wisdom teeth” because they typically appear later in life, usually between the ages of 17 and 25, a time often associated with gaining maturity or “wisdom.” Most people have four wisdom teeth, one in each corner of the mouth at the back. However, some people can have fewer than four or even none at all, which can be due to genetic variations.

What Can Happen if Wisdom Teeth Become Impacted?

When there isn’t enough space for them to emerge properly, wisdom teeth can become impacted, meaning they are not able to fully enter the mouth or develop normally.

How wisdom teeth can grow in:

  • at an angle towards another tooth
  • at an angle toward the back of the mouth
  • at a right angle to the other teeth
  • straight up or down but stay trapped within the jawbone

Potential Problems of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

a woman holding her hand to her jaw in pain

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause several problems, including:

  • Pain and Swelling: As the teeth try to push through the gum, they can cause considerable discomfort and inflammation.
  • Infection: Partially erupted teeth can create openings around the teeth, allowing bacteria to enter and lead to infections.
  • Damage to Adjacent Teeth: If there is not enough room to accommodate them, wisdom teeth can push against neighboring teeth, causing damage or misalignment.
  • Cysts: Wisdom teeth can lead to the formation of cysts or, in rare cases, tumors, which can damage the jawbone and surrounding teeth.

Wisdom Teeth Surgery

Wisdom teeth removal is typically performed under local anesthesia, sedation, or general anesthesia, depending on the complexity of the extraction and the patient’s comfort level. Here’s a brief rundown of what happens during the surgery.


The type of anesthesia used will depend on the expected complexity of the wisdom tooth extraction and your comfort. Your dentist or oral surgeon will recommend the best option for you.


The surgeon will make an incision in the gum tissue to expose the tooth and bone. Any bone blocking access to the root of the tooth will be removed. The tooth may be divided into sections to make it easier to remove through the opening. There is minimal discomfort during the procedure due to anesthesia.


After the tooth is removed, the extraction site is cleaned of any debris from the tooth or bone. The gums are then stitched back together to promote healing, though not all extractions require stitches.

Post-Procedure Care and Recovery

Recovery from wisdom teeth removal typically takes a few days. Here are some tips to aid your recovery:

  • Pain Management: You will likely have a prescription for pain relief, or your dentist might recommend over-the-counter pain relievers.
  • Swelling and Bruising: Ice packs applied to the cheek can help reduce swelling and bruising. Swelling typically subsides within a few days.
  • Diet: Eat soft foods like yogurt, pudding, and applesauce initially. Gradually add solid foods as the extraction site heals.
  • Oral Hygiene: Gentle rinsing with salt water can help keep the area clean. Avoid vigorous rinsing or spitting to prevent dislodging the blood clot from the socket.
  • Activity: Rest as much as possible immediately following your surgery. Avoid strenuous activities for a few days.

How Old Should You Be for Wisdom Teeth Extraction?

Wisdom teeth typically begin to erupt in your late teens or early twenties. However, this timing is going to be different for everyone and it all depends on your specific situation. Other oral health issues may postpone the process or speed it up. Consult with a professional to find out if right now is the time for you to have your wisdom teeth removed.

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Dr. Standish has been serving Clay County patients at Eagle Harbor Dental for over 40 years. His daughters Dr. Kelly & Dr. Erin joined the practice and they’ve been creating beautiful smiles as a family ever since. With extensive educations and memberships, our dentists are the best that Fleming Island has to offer.


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