Adults can have up to 32 teeth. The wisdom teeth are the last to appear, right at the very back of your mouth. They usually appear when you are between the ages of 17 and 25, although sometimes they appear many years later.
People often have jaws that are too small for all 32 teeth to fit – 28 is often the most we have room for. So, if all the other teeth are present and healthy there may not be enough space for the wisdom teeth to come through properly.
Wisdom teeth do not always cause problems. If there is enough room they will usually come through into a useful position and cause no more problems than any other tooth.
Often there will be some slight discomfort as they come through, but this will disappear once the tooth is fully in position.
If there is not enough room, the wisdom tooth may try to come through, but will get stuck against the tooth in front of it. The wisdom tooth will be at an angle and will be described by your dentist as ‘impacted’.
Far fewer wisdom teeth are now taken out than in the past. If the tooth is not causing you problems, your dentist will not want to remove it. They will only remove wisdom teeth:
- When it is clear that they will not be able to come through into a useful position because there is not enough room, and they are also causing some pain or discomfort.
- If they have only partly come through and are decayed – these teeth will often decay as it will be difficult to clean them as thoroughly as your other teeth.
- If they are painful.
If you are experiencing wisdom tooth pain or discomfort, book an appointment with our general dentist here.
For more complex extractions, he may refer you to our specialist oral surgeon Dr Naomi Rahman.