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19 / 02 / 2019

What Do You Know About Wisdom Teeth?

Ipswich Dentist Dr Tocca Explains More About These Sometimes Problematic Teeth

Wisdom teeth are so named because they are the very last teeth that we develop as adults. Because they often erupt during our late teen years or early twenties, they are considered to come through at an age when we should have a certain amount of wisdom, hence the name! In some cases though, these teeth do not erupt as they should, or even do not erupt at all.

You may have heard, perhaps from older relatives, that your wisdom teeth are the most difficult to remove if there is a problem with their development. Modern dental surgery means that this is now much more straightforward than in the past, but a problematic wisdom tooth can certainly be more challenging to extract than a tooth further towards the front of the mouth.

Wisdom Teeth Problems

Because the wisdom teeth develop at the back of the mouth and often have little space into which they can erupt, they can sometimes cause problems as they develop. In some instances they may become trapped under the gum line, only partially erupt, or come through at an angle which can cause a number of issues. These situations are what are often referred to as impacted wisdom teeth.

When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it can result in a number of problems, including potential infection, gum swelling and bite issues, and also potentially painful facial swelling. When this happens, it is possible that the wisdom tooth will need to be extracted from the socket.

Extracting A Wisdom Tooth

Where an impacted tooth becomes infected, you will be left in little doubt that it needs to be removed. This is a procedure that may take as little as five to ten minutes in the more straightforward cases, but can take much longer where there are complications.

As with all extractions, you will be given a local anaesthetic to minimise any potential discomfort and the gum tissue above the impacted tooth will be opened up and the tooth then removed from the socket. Generally, this will be carried out as with any other extraction, by rocking the tooth gently to dislodge it. More complex situations may require the tooth to be cut into smaller pieces for extraction and in some cases, patients may need to have stitches, depending on the extent of work that has been carried out.

Do All Wisdom Teeth Need To Be Extracted?

The simple answer to this question is no. Where the teeth erupt in an upright position and function as they should and cause no pain, there should be no need to extract them. In some cases though, wisdom teeth can lead to other problems. As the roots of a wisdom tooth are less developed in their early stages, we do recommend that patients in their late teen years see one of the Lighthouse Dental Practice dentists so that they can assess the situation. If there are any potential problems, it will be easier to extract the teeth around this age than if left until later in life.

After Your Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Because of the location and occasional complexity of a wisdom tooth extraction, we generally advise patients to bring someone with them who can take them home safely following the procedure. Some post-procedural bleeding is normal, but if it hasn’t stopped 24 hours after the procedure, please contact our Ipswich dental clinic for further advice.

You may feel some discomfort once the local anaesthetic wears off and we recommend that you have some of your usual painkiller medication at home, prior to your treatment. We will offer full advice about the aftercare of the procedure including the use of a saline solution to keep the area clean and free from bacterial infections.

Rest is also important for your recovery, and we recommend that you take a day or so from work so that you can relax and watch TV or read etc. Under no circumstances should you take part in any heavy physical activity, whether work or leisure related. The better your rest, the quicker your recovery is likely to be. Finally, do not smoke whilst you heal from this procedure. Smoking greatly increases the risk of complications and is simply not worth it.

Everyone should see their dentist every six months or so as a regular part of their oral health care. For teenagers, taking x-rays to monitor the development of wisdom teeth that may not yet have erupted, helps to determine the best approach to take at an age when the extraction is likely to be more straightforward. If you fall into this age category and have not seen a dentist for some time, please try to contact us as soon as possible.

To arrange an appointment at the Lighthouse Dental Practice in Ipswich, you can call our team on 01473 257 379.

We are here to help you.
If you would like to speak to a member of our friendly team about any of the issues in this article please visit our contact page or call us on 01473 257379.

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stars 1

“Hygienist, Angela sets you at ease from the moment you walk ...“

Jenny

stars 1

“Wow! The service I received from Jane was absolutely fantast...“

Dee D

stars 1

“I am 70 years of age, and I have always been afraid to go to...“

Earlmain L

stars 1

“I booked an emergency treatment appointment, having had a to...“

Ginette S

stars 1

“As a nervous patient, I was very worried about having my too...“

Susannah B

stars 1

“Having not been to a dentist in over 25 years, I was a bag o...“

Nick K

View All Testimonials Leave Us A Review
lighthouse icon
stars 1

“Hygienist, Angela sets you at ease from the moment you walk in the door. She is not onl...“

Jenny

stars 1

“Wow! The service I received from Jane was absolutely fantastic; she went above and beyond ...“

Dee D

stars 1

“I am 70 years of age, and I have always been afraid to go to the dentist. A broken tooth ...“

Earlmain L

stars 1

“I booked an emergency treatment appointment, having had a tooth for a few days and was una...“

Ginette S

stars 1

“As a nervous patient, I was very worried about having my tooth removed. I was instantly pu...“

Susannah B

stars 1

“Having not been to a dentist in over 25 years, I was a bag of nerves when I arrived, but I...“

Nick K

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