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What are wisdom teeth? You top FAQs answered

When you hit your teenage years, the discomfort of erupting teeth can seem like a distant memory.

For 7 in 10 dental patients, there is another set of teeth about to come in that can cause issues with discomfort, inflammation that can even need extraction; wisdom teeth. Why are they called wisdom teeth? It has little to do with their position (far from wise!) but as they are the last set of teeth to erupt, it is deemed that the person who is having them come in is going to be a bit wiser than they were when their other teeth erupted.

But what are they and how will they be treated by your dentist in Southgate?

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are molars that appear in the mouth when someone is between the age of 11 and 17 years of age (it can be later than this).

Due to their size and the fact that most people have all of their adult teeth in their mouths, they can cause a bit of trouble; they can get stuck when they are erupting and cause issues with neighbouring teeth (impaction) or they can erupt but cause discomfort or chronic infections.

There are typically 4 of them (2 on the top jaw and 2 on the bottom) and they are often larger than the other molars in the mouth.

Do they always need to be removed?

No, they don’t.

In many cases, wisdom teeth are a bit of a nuisance as they do not fit comfortably in the patient’s mouth and can put pressure on the surrounding teeth, or cause inflammation of the gums.

If you have space in your mouth to accommodate your wisdom teeth and they are not infected, then your dental team will leave them in.

wisdom teeth extraction

How do I know if my wisdom teeth need removing?

Wisdom teeth will usually need a look in from a dental team if they are causing discomfort when you eat, open your mouth or if they are just generally uncomfortable.

If you have had a foul odour or taste in your mouth since the eruption of wisdom teeth, then they may be infected and will probably need to be removed. But your dental team will be able to give you more accurate advice pertaining to your wisdom teeth and whether or not they need extracting, so just ask!

Is extraction of wisdom teeth painful?

It can be uncomfortable to have wisdom teeth removed, especially if the teeth are impacted or if they have abnormally long roots, or roots that are intertwined with surrounding teeth.

Generally speaking, your dental team will aim to remove a wisdom tooth using the same methods as a regular extraction and once the tooth/teeth are out, they will probably stitch the gum to prevent infection.

Discomfort following extraction should be manageable with over the counter pain relief; if this isn’t working, or you notice an increase in discomfort, contact your dental team for a follow-up emergency appointment.

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