Adults have 28 teeth and it can go up to 32 if all four of their Wisdom Teeth come through. The Wisdom Teeth are the last teeth to come through and they are right at the back of the upper and lower jaw. Usually your Wisdom Teeth will start to appear when your between 17 and 25 – But they can also appear when you are older.
In recent times people’s jaws are only big enough to cater for the 28 teeth, and if they are all present and healthy their may not be any room for the Wisdom Teeth!
Do Wisdom Teeth always cause problems?
Luckily no. If your mouth has enough room for them to come through they will grow into a normal position (like any other tooth) and will cause no problems.
Please be aware that it can cause some slight discomfort as they come through (e.g. headaches), but once the tooth is fully in its position the discomfort will fade away.
What is an impacted Wisdom Tooth?
When the Wisdom Tooth is coming through there is a chance that it could come through at an angle that positions itself behind the tooth in front of it. In this event, it is known as “impacted”.
What problems can Wisdom Teeth cause?
During the process of when your Wisdom Teeth are coming through, if only a small part of the tooth has appeared through the gum (with parts still covered), the surrounding gum area can become swollen and sore. This area will be prone to collect groups of bacteria and food particles under the edge of the gum, making it very difficult for you to effectively clean the area.
If this has happened, it is important to see your dentist so they can analyse if this will be a temporary problem (being sorted with mouthwashes and special cleaning methods etc) or if the tooth is too much of a problem and needs removing.
What can you do to help yourself if you are experiencing swollen gums?
Pour yourself a glass of medium hot water (check that it is not to hot) and put a teaspoonful of salt into the glass. Use this home made mouth wash to swish the salt water around the sore tooth (with the aim of trying to reach the areas your toothbrush cannot).
Another option is to use an antibacterial mouthwash (such as Corsodyl) as this can also help reduce the inflammation.
In the short term, both paracetamol or aspirin can also be used to help relieve the pain (please consult the instructions before using).
If the pain does continue, it is recommended that you see your dentist as soon as possible.
What if the pain continues?
You should consult with your dentist as soon as you can and they will be able to asses the cause of the pain and then help address what is needed to be done. This can involve a thorough professional dental clean around the affected tooth and you may even be prescribed with an antibiotic course.
Will I need an x-ray?
An x-ray will usually be taken so the position of your root can be seen to calculate if there is in fact enough room for the Wisdom Tooth to successfully come through.
Would I need to have my Wisdom Teeth taken out?
Depending on your exact situation your Wisdom Teeth may be alright without having them removed. However their are a number of reasons why they may need to be taken out:
- If it has been identified that your Wisdom Teeth are not coming through to a useful position (due to lack of space) and it is also causing discomfort/pain
- If it is proving difficult to clean and the Wisdom Tooth has no real use
- If only a part of the Wisdom Tooth has come through as these teeth are much more likely to decay as it makes it very difficult to thoroughly clean like your other teeth
- If the Wisdom Teeth are causing pain and discomfort
- In some instances if the Wisdom Tooth has started to “over-grow”. This can be caused if the lower Wisdom Tooth has been impacted and therefore not come out or if it has been previously removed, meaning that the upper Wisdom Tooth has no tooth to bite against. The upper Wisdom Tooth will eventually grow to far looking for a tooth to make contact with
How difficult is it to remove Wisdom Teeth?
This will vary depending on a few factors such as the shape and position of the Wisdom Tooths roots. By taking an Xray the dentist will be able to tell you how easy/difficult it will be to remove the tooth.
Depending on the severity of the case, it may be able to be taken out at the dental practice or it might have to be referred to a specialist (oral surgeon) at hospital.
During the procedure to remove a Wisdom Tooth you can be given a local anesthetic to numb the area and you can have the option to also be sedated during the treatment.
If I have a Wisdom Tooth removed will there be any consequences to my mouth or face?
Having a Wisdom Tooth removed can cause some slight discomfort and swelling for a few days. But after the affected area has healed there will be no difference to your appearance or mouth.
After you have healed your mouth will feel more comfortable (especially if the Wisdom Tooth had been impacted)
What should I expect after a Wisdom Tooth is taken out?
This will again vary depending on the level of severity your case is and how easy it was to remove the tooth. For a few days after having the tooth removed their will be some slight swelling and discomfort and it is important that you follow any advice you are given by the dentist (e.g. using mouthwashes etc).
For the first 24 hours after you have had the tooth removed it is recommended to try and stay relaxed and calm and not be too active to help reduce any potential bleeding problems. A check up appointment will likely be arranged to ensure the site has healed up nicely and any stitches are removed.