Wisdom Teeth

What are wisdom teeth?

Your wisdom teeth are the last to erupt at the back of the mouth, usually between the ages of 18 and 22. Sometimes they appear many years later.

Nowadays people often have jaws that are too small for all 32 teeth with some mouths only having 28 teeth or less. So if all other teeth are present and healthy, there may not be enough space for the wisdom teeth to come through properly.

Do wisdom teeth always cause problems?

No. If there is sufficient space for them to erupt into, then they give no problems. As the wisdom tooth erupts into the mouth, it can cause soreness – like teething pain but in adults!

Why Do We Need To Remove Wisdom Teeth?

If there is not enough space for wisdom teeth to erupt properly into they get impacted (stuck) against the next tooth. Food and plaque can lodge between the teeth, and the area is usually very difficult to clean. This can lead to decay of the wisdom tooth and the adjacent tooth, and gum infection leading to a swelling and soreness.

What can I do to help myself?

  • Initially, gargling with warm salt water will help.
  • Using a small single tufted style tooth brush to clean effectively and remove food and bacteria will help reduce risk of infection.
  • Over-the-counter painkillers will control the pain.

In severe cases or where mouth opening is limited, you need to see your dentist who will examine your mouth and may prescribe antibiotics.

What to do if the pain comes back?

If a wisdom tooth is regularly giving you problems extraction may be considered. Extraction is carried out by your dentist or an oral surgeon in the hospital depending on your preferences and/or the difficulty of the extraction.

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