Adults can have a maximum of 32 teeth. The wisdom teeth or third molars are the last to come through, right at the back. They usually appear between the ages of 17 and 25. Sometimes these teeth appear in the mouth years later.
Nowadays people often have jaws that are too small for all 32 teeth-28 is often the most we have room for. So if all the other teeth are present and healthy, there may not be enough space for the wisdom teeth to come through properly.
Wisdom teeth are extracted:
1. When it’s clear that they will not be able to come through into a useful position because there is not enough room, and they are also causing recurrent pain or discomfort.
2. If they have only partly come through and are decayed or causing decay to the tooth in-front of them such teeth will often decay as it will be difficult to clean them as thoroughly as your other teeth.
Do they always cause problems?
No. If there is enough room they will usually come through into a useful position an cause no more problems than any other tooth.
Often there will be some slight discomfort as they come through, but this is only temporary and will disappear once the tooth is fully in position.
What is an impacted wisdom tooth?
If there is not enough room, the wisdom tooth may try to come through, but will get stuck against the tooth in front of it. The wisdom tooth will normally be at an angle.
What problems should I be prepared for?
If part of the wisdom tooth has appeared through the gum and part of it still covered, the gum may become sore and perhaps swollen. Food particles and bacteria can collect under the gum edge, and it will be difficult to clean the area effectively. This is known as pericoronitis.
This is a temporary problem that can be dealt with using mouthwashes and special cleaning methods and possibly antibiotics. If the problem keeps coming back, it may be better to have the tooth removed.
Will it make any difference to my face or mouth?
Taking wisdom teeth out may cause some swelling for a few days. But as soon as the area is healed, there will be no difference to your face or appearance. Your mouth will feel more comfortable and less crowded, especially if the teeth were impacted.
What should I expect after a wisdom tooth is taken out?
The amount of discomfort will depend on how easy it was to take the tooth out. There is usually some swelling and discomfort for a few days afterwards, and it is important to follow any advice you get about mouthwashes and so on, to help with the healing. Some people also find homeopathic remedies help to reduce discomfort. Usual painkillers such as paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen will usually deal with any pain. It is best to stay fairly quiet and relaxed for 24 hours afterwards to make sue there are no bleeding problems. There may be some stitches to help the gum heal over. We will probably want to see you again about a week later to check on the healing, and to remove any stitches.