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Wisdom teeth are a third set of molars that reside in the back of your mouth, and usually come in between the ages of 17 and 25. Through X-rays, your dentist should be able to tell you what stage your wisdom teeth are at and whether or not you need them removed. Many people who have their wisdom teeth removed do so for one of the following reasons:

They’re impacted. Wisdom teeth often don’t come in normally as they are so far in the back of your mouth. Impacted wisdom teeth can be trapped in your jawbone or gums.
They come in at the wrong angle. When wisdom teeth come in at the wrong angle, they start to push and crowd other teeth. In this case, wisdom teeth removal is probably your best bet for a straight-toothed, white smile.
Your mouth isn’t big enough. The human mouth is not big enough to accommodate an extra set of molars.

What to expect:

Before surgery, be sure to talk with the oral surgeon about any health problems you may have, list any drugs you take on a regular basis, and ask any questions about the surgery.

During surgery, you’ll choose from local, IV sedation, or general anesthesia. Your doctor may have to cut into your gums, but if he does, he will stitch it up and the stitches will dissolve in the next week or two.

After surgery, you’ll likely have swelling and mild discomfort for a while. To help ease the pain, follow these dos and don’ts:

  • DO use an ice pack on your face to curb swelling
  • DO use moist heat for a sore jaw
  • DO gently open and close your mouth to exercise your jaw
  • DO eat soft foods, like pasta, rice, or soup
  • DON’T drink through a straw
  • DON’T not rinse your mouth too harshly
  • DON’T eat sticky foods