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What are wisdom teeth and why do they often lead to problems?
Wisdom teeth are the last adult teeth to appear, at the back of the mouth. They emerge around the ages of 17 through to 25. People typically get four wisdom teeth, with a tooth in each corner of the mouth. (Source: NHS Choices)
Our bodies produce around 32 adult teeth, but many people’s mouths only have space for 28. This can mean that there isn’t enough space to accommodate them.
For many people, however, there are no major problems and they simply cause mild teething pain, like all teeth.
What happens when wisdom teeth come through?
Gums can become sore and even swell when the tooth has partially come through. The area can become collect food and bacteria, and requires careful attention.
Why are wisdom teeth sometimes removed?
When wisdom teeth struggle to come through and are squeezed, they are known as ‘impacted teeth’. Often, they’ll be left alone if they are not causing problems. But if pain persists, the dentist may recommend tooth extraction, In this case, they may perform an x-ray for a clearer picture of the tooth’s position.
Wisdom teeth are also removed when there are complications, such as tooth decay or gum disease that has occurred when food and bacteria has gathered around the emerging tooth and gums. (Source: NHS Choices)
What does the extraction involve?
A local anaesthetic is usually used to provide pain relief. The procedure may be carried out by your dentist, or in certain cases, by a specialist dental surgeon in a hospital. The area around the tooth may be prepared by incision, and the tooth will be pulled back and forth until it becomes loose. You may experience pain following the operation, which can last for several days to a fortnight.