‘Wisdom’ teeth are the last teeth to appear, at the back of the mouth, from the late teens onwards. Most people have four wisdom teeth but it is not unusual to have fewer – even none.
Because they are the last teeth to form, there sometimes isn’t room for them. They come through at an angle, pressing – ‘impacting’ – against the teeth in front or the bone behind.
Management of wisdom teeth:
Watching the growth of teeth and jaws is part of your regular dental care. If you feel there is a problem developing please let us know and we will be pleased to discuss it:
- X-rays can show where the wisdom teeth are in the jaw and how much room there is for them to come through, as well as whether any damage is being caused to teeth in front.
- The x-rays will also show how simple or difficult a wisdom tooth extraction might be. You may be referred to a specialist to have your wisdom teeth removed.
As wisdom teeth are coming through, the surrounding gum becomes inflamed and sore. This is called ‘pericoronitis’. It may settle down or come and go over a period. It is usually better to remove a wisdom tooth after you have had pericoronitis because they often continue to cause trouble.
If you need to have a wisdom tooth removed you should be able to fit it in with work or other commitments. Sometimes, all wisdom teeth are removed at one time, in hospital under general anaesthetic. You may need several days off work.
The benefits of removing wisdom teeth:
- Removal ends pain and takes away possible sources of infection.
- Any damage to the teeth in front is stopped.