Menu
Referrals Emergencies

Treatment finder

07 / 01 / 2022

Wisdom Teeth – Key Facts Explained

The last teeth to come through in your adult life are your wisdom teeth and these tend to appear between the ages of 17 and 25. These molars (the third set) are the toughest and widest in your mouth and they can help you chew your food. However, you may find your jaw is just too small to accommodate all your teeth comfortably. In fact, adults can have up to 32 teeth in total when, according to the Oral Health Foundation, 28 tend to provide a better fit.

The History Of Wisdom Teeth

In prehistoric times, you would have probably worked your way through a diet of raw meat, roots and leaves. However, this meant your teeth would need to be capable of tearing through many of these tough foods. Wisdom teeth would instantly give you more chewing power but, these days, our diet is far more refined. So, these molars can be seen as ‘extras’. In fact, some people will never have a full set of wisdom teeth come through (two at the top and two at the bottom at the back of your mouth). And, if you have problems with a wisdom tooth, such as pain and/or swelling, you may need to visit your dentist.

Possible Complications

If your jaw is large enough to accommodate them, your wisdom teeth can appear without any problems. These molars will also need to emerge in the right position in your mouth, however. You may feel slight irritation and perhaps notice swelling in the gums, but any pain should subside as soon as each wisdom tooth comes through properly.

Whenever new teeth break through the surface of the gums, this can be painful. However, if your mouth doesn’t have enough room for four new molars, this can cause problems. Sometimes, a wisdom tooth can become impacted, however you may not notice any issues. This is why it’s important to visit your dentist for regular dental health check-ups. When wisdom teeth are fully impacted, the affected tooth may never break through your gums. This is usually as a result of your jaw not having enough space for your teeth, as previously mentioned.

It’s also possible to have a partially impacted wisdom tooth. You’ll find the tooth may break through your gums and part of the gums can be seen. However, this can mean the wisdom tooth traps food and makes cleaning it more difficult, which could result in periocoronitis.

Periocoronitis

This inflammation or swelling of your gum tissue usually occurs around your wisdom teeth. This condition most often occurs in molars that are partially impacted or not fully visible. Fortunately, this issue tends to be temporary – you can use mouthwash, special cleaning methods and possibly antibiotics. However, you may consider having your problem tooth removed, if this becomes a recurring problem.

If your tooth becomes infected, you may have an unpleasant taste in your mouth, or perhaps you can’t open it very well and you may have bad breath. You could also find you have pain or swelling around the jaw and red, swollen or bleeding gums. Good dental hygiene can help you avoid some problems, but there is no way to prevent an impacted tooth.

Getting Professional Help

At Lighthouse Dental Practice, we will clean the wisdom tooth very thoroughly and we may prescribe an antibiotic. Your dentist will take an x-ray so we can see the exact position of the root. We can then provide you with professional advice on whether there is room for the tooth to come through in the correct position.

Wisdom Teeth Removal

These days, standard wisdom teeth removal is not considered a dental emergency. In fact, according to the NHS, it’s one of the most common surgical procedures carried out in the UK. If you’re experiencing severe pain or discomfort, you may need a dentist or oral surgeon to perform an emergency wisdom teeth removal. This form of extraction can also be carried out as a preventative measure. We advise you to speak to your dental care provider first and, even get a second opinion, before going ahead with the procedure.

You’ll need a local anaesthetic, which is typical for all extractions, or perhaps sedation, as this will minimise potential discomfort. Then, we can open the gum tissue above the impacted tooth to remove this from the socket. We will rock the tooth to dislodge it, however more complex situations may require the tooth to be cut into smaller pieces for extraction. You may need stitches but this will depend on the extent of the work which has been carried out. Wisdom teeth are not necessarily difficult to extract. It all depends on the position and shape of the molar’s roots.

Top tip: Bring someone with you who can take you home safely, following wisdom tooth extraction.

The Healing Process

Following an extraction, you may find some swelling. However, this will ease in a few days and we will give you advice on how to help the healing process. We can recommend painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, so you can deal with any pain. In fact, we will provide you with full aftercare advice, which will include rinsing your mouth with saline solution to keep the area clean and free from bacterial infection. We also suggest you avoid drinking alcohol and smoking for 24 hours following this procedure. This way you can help to prevent any issues with bleeding.

Top tip: Relaxation will help to speed up your recovery, so make sure you rest. Take a day or two off work and don’t take part in any heavy physical activity for work or leisure.

You can expect the hole from your wisdom tooth to almost or fully close around six weeks following surgery. A few months or so later, the indentation will usually fill in and completely heal.

Early Detection

Please ensure you visit your dentist regularly. For teenagers, we would advise regular x-rays as we can monitor any wisdom teeth as they develop then choose the best approach. If extraction is the preferred option, it’s good for your dentist to carry out the procedure at an age (from around 17 to mid-20s) when extraction is more likely to be straightforward.

We offer a wide range of both routine and complex dentistry treatments. For more information about any of our procedures – or to make an appointment – simply give us a call on 01473 257379, email welcome@lighthousedentalpractice.co.uk or book online.

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.

Back to Blog
lighthouse icon
stars 1

“Hygienist, Angela sets you at ease from the moment you walk in the door. She is not only really thorough but also very caring and explains what she is doing throughout the ...“

Jenny

stars 1

“Wow! The service I received from Jane was absolutely fantastic; she went above and beyond to assist me so that I wasn't left out of pocket. I wish everyone had a person lik...“

Dee D

stars 1

“I am 70 years of age, and I have always been afraid to go to the dentist. A broken tooth and my wife threatening to leave me if I did not get it replaced soon made me find a ...“

Earlmain L

stars 1

“I booked an emergency treatment appointment, having had a tooth for a few days and was unable to get an appointment with my regular practice. I have to say the service was am...“

Ginette S

stars 1

“As a nervous patient, I was very worried about having my tooth removed. I was instantly put at ease by the reception staff and the dental team. They regularly stopped to check...“

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 must admit Dr Tocca was very professional and explained everything as he was going t...“

Nick K

View All Testimonials Leave Us A Review
lighthouse icon
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

View All Testimonials Leave Us A Review

Treatments

Treatments

Popular treatments

instagram instagram

Instagram

[instagram-feed feed=2]

Get in touch

Call Us

Location

  • pin 27 High Street
  • Ipswich
  • IP1 3QH

Operating hours

  • time

    Monday to Friday   |   08:30am - 17:30pm (phone rings until 17.30)

  • time

    Saturday by appointment only

enquiry shape1
enquiry shape2
Google Rating
4.9
Google Rating
Google Rating