Wisdom Teeth

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the third molars in the back of your mouth which usually appear between the ages of 17-25, although they can appear many years later, or sometimes never at all. In total, adults can have up to 32 teeth however It is very common that not all 32 will fit in your mouth, with around 28 being the average that most people will have space for. 

Do Wisdom Teeth Cause Dental Problems?

In some cases, when your wisdom teeth have space to grow in, they will cause little to no dental problems. You may experience some pain whilst they come through but this should stop once the teeth have moved into position. For others, wisdom teeth can be very sore and cause both dental and overall health problems. 

What Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

Impacted wisdom teeth are wisdom teeth which have not managed to emerge or develop properly. Impacted wisdom teeth do not always cause you dental problems. However, in some cases, they can damage other teeth or your gums.

Problems with Impacted Wisdom Teeth and Removing Wisdom Teeth

It used to be very common for people to have their wisdom teeth removed. Nowadays dentists are more cautious about removing wisdom teeth as removing them can cause other health problems such as increased sensitivity of your sinuses.

If you experience any of the following in the area behind your last molar then you may have an impacted wisdom tooth and should visit your dentist as soon as possible:

  • Swollen, red gums.
  • Bad breath or an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
  • Bleeding or tenderness.
  • Swelling or pain in your jaw.
  • Difficulty opening your mouth.

If all of your teeth have already made their way through your gum and they are spaced properly your mouth may struggle to accommodate an extra four teeth. Furthermore, you might find that your wisdom teeth grow in at different times and sometimes may never show at all.

Removing your Wisdom Teeth

  • If your wisdom tooth has only broken through part of your gum then a flap of gum may appear under-which food and bacteria can get trapped. If this is left untreated, it may lead to a gum infection.
  • If your jaw is not big enough to accommodate your wisdom teeth then they can become impacted and unable to erupt through the jaw properly. 
  • Impacted wisdom teeth can cause cysts to form in your mouth and in some rare circumstance can lead to tumours.

If however, your wisdom teeth are impacted or causing you pain, then your dentist will usually suggest that you have them removed. If your wisdom teeth are not causing you pain but are impacted then your dentist may also suggest that you have them removed to help prevent any future problems.

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