Wisdom teeth are the last molars, or "third molars" that develop on each side of the jaw. They usually emerge in the back of the mouth between the ages of 16-20.
Wisdom teeth are a valuable asset to the mouth when they are healthy and properly positioned. Often, however, they cause problems and require removal. When the jaw isn't large enough to accommodate wisdom teeth, they can become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth may grow sideways, emerge only part way through the gum or remain trapped beneath the gum and bone.
A wisdom tooth extraction is a relatively routine procedure. The dentist will numb the area in the mouth with a local anesthesia or use IV sedation so that the patient is asleep during the procedure.
After the tooth (or teeth) is removed, the patient is given gauze and bites down softly for a recommended amount of time to limit any bleeding. Some pain and swelling may occur, but it will usually go away after a few days.