Wisdom Teeth

What are they?

Wisdom teeth appear at the back of the mouth, generally from the late teens onwards. Most people have four wisdom teeth, but it is not unusual to have fewer or even none.

As they are the last teeth to form, there sometimes isn't room for them. This can cause them to come through at an angle, pressing against the teeth in front or the bone behind. If you think that you have a problem, you should tell your dentist.

What will my dentist do?

  • Your dentist can use x-rays to indicate where the wisdom teeth are in the jaw and how much room there is for them to come through. They can also show how simple or difficult it may be to take a wisdom tooth out. Your dentist might refer you to a specialist to have your wisdom teeth removed
  • When wisdom teeth come through, the surrounding gum becomes inflamed and sore, which is called 'pericoronitis'. It is usually better to remove a wisdom tooth after you have had pericoronitis, as they often continue to cause trouble
  • Sometimes it is necessary to remove all wisdom teeth in hospital under general anaesthetic. If so, you may need to take two or three days off work

What are the benefits of removing wisdom teeth?

  • Pericoronitis can reoccur and continue to cause problems. Therefore, having your wisdom teeth removed will prevent pain and infection
  • Also, when there is restricted room for the wisdom tooth to grow in, it can press against the teeth in front. Therefore, removing wisdom teeth can stop any damage to the teeth in front