At one time in the history of man, wisdom teeth (or third molars) were most likely an important part of our entire tooth structure; but that is no longer true. Because of a lack of adequate space in the jawbone for them, wisdom teeth (that usually come in somewhere in our late teen years) often come in sideways, pushing at an already established tooth. This causes the wisdom tooth to only partially erupt through the gums; or in some cases, it does not push through the gums at all, but stays impacted under the surface.
It becomes necessary to remove some or all of your wisdom teeth when they cause (or may cause) problems in your mouth. Bacteria can grow around a partially erupted wisdom tooth, causing periodontal disease; or food can get caught between the wisdom tooth and the adjoining tooth, creating tooth decay in both teeth. When wisdom teeth are impacted or pushing against other teeth, they may impede the health of those teeth. They may even cause your teeth to shift and become misaligned as they attempt to make room for the wisdom teeth.
When a fully erupted wisdom tooth needs to be extracted, it is pulled like any other tooth. However, if the tooth is partially or fully impacted under the gum line and in the jawbone, an incision has to be made in the gums; and the tooth, as well as a portion of the bone that is covering the impacted tooth, has to be removed. Your dental surgeon will use local or general anesthetics to prevent you from feeling any pain.
Recovery from wisdom teeth extraction usually takes a few days, while the area from which the teeth were extracted heals. Plan to spend a few days resting and eating soft foods, while your gums heal.