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The human jaw has gradually changed and adapted over the course of millions of years. One of the vestigial remnants handed down by our ancestors is the presence of third molars. More commonly known as wisdom teeth, they are unnecessary molars lingering deep within the gum tissues at the back of your mouth.

In late adolescence, these third molars can start to move in an attempt to erupt from the gums. Unfortunately, most people lack the adequate space behind the last molars to make room for the wisdom teeth. This can cause one or more teeth to become trapped, or impacted, inside the gums. This can apply pressure to the otherwise healthy roots of your back molars, which could potentially result in the loss of the tooth.

Even if one or two wisdom teeth manage to erupt in your overcrowded gums, they will need to be brushed and flossed regularly. This can be difficult since they are so far back in the mouth. Gum disease and tooth decay in your wisdom teeth can needlessly cause pain and infection.

To prevent these complications, Dr. Nidal Obeid typically recommends having your wisdom teeth extracted. This can be done in a single outpatient appointment. If he recommends full sedation, you will need to have a friend or family member drive you home while the sedatives wear off.

While your gums are healing, you should try to stick to a soft-foods diet and avoid drinking through a straw. The suction could potentially open the incision. It’s also a good idea to abstain from tobacco use as this will irritate sensitive gum tissues, increasing recovery time and potentially causing an infection.

If you live in the Chicago, Illinois, area and you’re concerned about your wisdom teeth, you should call 773-561-5106 to set up a consultation at Family Dental of Lincoln.