Your wisdom teeth are situated right at the back of your mouth and are the very last to come through, making a total of 32 adult teeth. Wisdom teeth generally emerge from the late teens to mid-to-late 20s. Their late arrival can cause problems, as by this stage the rest of your adult teeth will already be in position and your jaw may be too small to comfortably accommodate them.
If there is enough room in the mouth the wisdom teeth will come through (erupt) in a useful position and there will only be minor discomfort as they erupt. However, wisdom teeth can cause problems if there is not enough room in the mouth.
Common problems include wisdom teeth that become impacted and where they will try to erupt underneath the adjacent teeth or will even try to come through sideways through the gums. Sometimes wisdom teeth will only partially erupt and this can cause problems as they will still be partly covered by a flap of gum tissue that can easily trap food and bacteria, increasing the risk of infection and decay.
The dentist will be able to assess whether there is sufficient room for the teeth to come through by taking an x- ray which will show the position of the root. Once the x-rays have been taken, the dentist will be able to tell how easy or difficult it will be to remove the tooth. The dentist will then determine whether the tooth should be taken out at the Dental Practice or by a Specialist Oral Surgeon.
The dentist will only recommend taking out wisdom teeth if –
- The teeth are not able to fully erupt through the gum and are causing an infection in the surrounding tissue; this is known as Pericoronitis.
- There is decay present – wisdom teeth will often decay as it is very difficult to clean them as thoroughly as your other teeth because they are so far back in the mouth.
Following the removal of wisdom teeth, there is likely to be some discomfort. However, this will vary depending on how difficult it was to remove the tooth; it is not uncommon to experience some swelling for a few days and you might find it more comfortable to stick to soft foods. Our dentist will advise on how best to reduce this discomfort and may recommend pain killers such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen. We may probably ask you to come back and see us at a later date so we can check the healing process.
Most people experience uneventful healing after wisdom teeth removal, but if you do have any problems whatsoever then please contact us. We are more than happy to offer advice or can arrange an appointment for you to come in and see us.
Please note that the extraction of teeth is a surgical or invasive procedure that carries risks.