The average adult has up to 32 teeth, four of which are wisdom teeth, and these emerge from the gum around the age of 17 and 25. Although rare, they can also come through after this period.
If there is ample room in the mouth for the wisdom tooth to emerge, they will erupt in an upright, normal position, resulting in only very minor discomfort when they eventually come through. Wisdom teeth, however are very large, and can cause a host of problems for those without enough available space in their mouth. The wisdom tooth will emerge on an angle, or even worse horizontally, this is describe as an impacted wisdom tooth.
Your dentist will be able to determine the amount of room available for your wisdom teeth to emerge, and inform you whether this room is sufficient, through the use of an x-ray that shows the position of the root. Should the tooth be impacted, requiring extraction, your dentist will then advise you on the ease of the removal, concluding whether a simple extraction is all that is needed or whether a specialised surgical removal is required.
Your dentist will only ever recommend the extraction of your wisdom teeth if:
- The teeth show no potential in erupting from the gum area, as this could lead to Pericoronitis, a particular bacterial infection associated with wisdom teeth
- Severe decay has rendered the tooth invalid, requiring immediate removal
As with other forms of tooth extraction, patients may feel pain or discomfort after the removal of wisdom teeth. This will vary, however, depending on the angle of the tooth and how hard it was to remove the tooth due to its difficult to access position.
Your dentist will advise you on how best to reduce the discomfort and swelling that will result days after the procedure has taken place. Most circumstances require the use of standard painkillers, which you can obtain over the counter. A further appointment will be necessary for the dentist to monitor the healing process and remove stitches that are used to allow the area to heal.