Your wisdom teeth are the last to erupt at the back of the mouth, usually between the ages of 18 and 22. Sometimes they appear many years later.
Nowadays people often have jaws that are too small for all 32 teeth with some mouths only having 28 teeth or less. So if all other teeth are present and healthy, there may not be enough space for the wisdom teeth to come through properly.
No. If there is sufficient space for them to erupt into, then they give no problems. As the wisdom tooth erupts into the mouth, it can cause soreness – like teething pain but in adults!
If there is not enough space for wisdom teeth to erupt properly into they get impacted (stuck) against the next tooth. Food and plaque can lodge between the teeth, and the area is usually very difficult to clean. This can lead to decay of the wisdom tooth and the adjacent tooth, and gum infection leading to a swelling and soreness.
Initially, gargling with warm salt water will help. The use of an antiseptic mouth wash like Corsodyl is very good too. Over-the-counter painkillers will control the pain. In severe cases or where mouth opening is limited, you need to see your dentist who will examine your mouth and may prescribe antibiotics.
If a lower wisdom tooth is regularly giving you problems, we often remove the upper opposing wisdom tooth to relieve the pressure off the sore gum around the problem tooth. Usually, this works well. If it does not, the offending wisdom tooth needs to be extracted. The extraction is carried out by your dentist or an oral surgeon in the hospital depending on your preferences and/or the difficulty of the extraction.
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