Generally, most adults will develop their third set of molars between ages 17 and 25.
These teeth are most commonly known as wisdom teeth.
They are named ‘wisdom teeth’ because they are the last teeth to emerge and come during early adulthood when you are presumably ‘wiser.’
Why do we get wisdom teeth?
Located at the back of the mouth, wisdom teeth are molars and useful for chewing and grinding food.
However, some people do not ever get wisdom teeth, and many believe we no longer need wisdom teeth since our diet has evolved so that intense cutting of meat and hard vegetables is no longer necessary due to cooking and cutlery.
Why are wisdom teeth removed?
Molars cause the most amount of issues out of all the teeth types.
Wisdom teeth may be removed when there is not enough space in the mouth and the tooth is inhibited from growing out of the gum as it should.
Additionally, wisdom teeth should be removed if there are signs of:
- Damage to surrounding teeth
- Bone loss around roots
- Limited space for brushing and flossing around the tooth
Furthermore, dentists may recommend you have your wisdom teeth removed as a preventive measure, to avoid future problems such as:
- Damage to surrounding teeth
- Threat of bacteria and plaque build-up if the tooth is only partly developed
Your dentist will be able to advise you on whether or not it is best for you to have your teeth removed since it is not a good idea to have healthy teeth extracted for no reason.
Wisdom teeth fear and anxiety
Many people suffer from dental anxiety, due to fear of potential pain or general discomfort with the idea of having dental tools in your mouth.
Often, a common cause of dental pain is erupting wisdom teeth.
The removal of the teeth will of course target this pain, but if you are afraid of the dentist it can make the task of having your wisdom teeth removed seem daunting.
At The Perfect Smile, we strive to create a comfortable, inviting and relaxing environment so that your treatment is as anxiety-free as possible.
Risk of infection
It is not uncommon to suffer from pericoronitis if your wisdom teeth have not been removed.
Pericoronitis means inflammation of the tissue surrounding the wisdom tooth.
The condition most often occurs in molars that are partially impacted, or not fully visible, and is more common in lower molars than in the upper ones.
The prevalence of pericoronitis is reported to be 81% in the 20–29 year age group. – BJGP
If you do decide to have your wisdom tooth (or teeth) removed, the method of extraction will be dependent on your own mouth and how far the tooth has grown out of the gum already.
The extraction will continue just as any normal tooth extraction – where the dentist loosens the tooth with a tool known as an elevator, the pulls it using pliers-resembling tools called dental forceps.
They will then clean the area and use a gauze to stop additional bleeding.
Post-surgery, you may feel swollen and slight pain for a few days.
Caring for your mouth post-extraction will be explained fully by the dentist but it is recommended you gargle warm salt-water several times a day for the first few days after your tooth has been removed.
If your tooth is below the gum line, you may require a more invasive procedure such as a surgical extraction.
This is often still performed by the dentist, but if it cannot be offered in practice your dentist will recommend an alternative provider.
So, what next?
Your dentist should let you know when you need to have your wisdom teeth removed.
However, if you feel pain or swelling in the back of your mouth then you may want to check things out.
At The Perfect Smile we have a team of experienced, skilled and professional dentists ready to treat any dental urgency you have.
We are committed to providing the best possible service for our patients.
Call 01992 552115 or book online to visit one of our London or Hertfordshire-based practices.
Medically reviewed & updated on December 8, 2021