Wisdom teeth Explained


Every year, 75,000 people in the UK have their wisdom teeth removed. Let Willows Dental Practice in Hereford share its ‘wisdom’ with you about wisdom teeth!


What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are third molars that usually emerge through the gums in the late teens or early twenties. They are also often trouble-makers. Sometimes they grow in a strange direction, instead of straight up like the rest of the teeth. Sometimes they don’t even emerge from the gum at all. This is why so many people need their wisdom teeth removed.


Why do wisdom teeth cause so many problems?

Our distant ancestors had larger mouths that could accommodate wisdom teeth. These third molars help them to grind down food. But over time, our jaws became smaller, and now, the mouths of many adults cannot accommodate their wisdom teeth. So instead wisdom teeth are forced to grow in strange directions, and this can impact other teeth.


Wisdom teeth pain

Wisdom teeth can cause pain when they grow on their side and push into the second molars. In this case, the best pain relief is removal of the offending tooth.


Procedure for wisdom teeth removal

First, your dentist will use a local anaesthetic to numb the area around your tooth. Thanks to the anaesthetic, you will only feel pressure instead of pain. But if you are particularly anxious, then the dentist can use sedation to put you to sleep.


The dentist will then rock the tooth back and forth until it comes loose. But in complex cases, the dentist may need to open the gum tissue to remove bone covering the tooth. The dentist may also need to break the tooth into small pieces.


After the procedure is finished, the dentist will use stitches to close any incisions. The average procedure takes around fifteen minutes.


Recovery from wisdom teeth removal

For the first few days after the surgery, your mouth will be swollen, and eating will be difficult. You should only eat soft foods, like soup, ice-cream and yoghurt. The dentist will review the healing process a week after surgery. You can expect a full recovery soon after.


Infection due to wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth are often a site of infection, because they’re difficult to reach with a toothbrush. Submerged wisdom tooth may also be covered with a flap of gum tissue, which can trap food and bacteria. The most common symptom of infection is pain in the affected area. If you experience chronic mouth pain, then get it checked by a dentist.


Infection can also happen after wisdom teeth surgery. This is because removal of your wisdom teeth leaves your mouth temporarily vulnerable to infections. You will have to take an antibiotic for the first few days after surgery to help prevent infection.


Do I need my wisdom teeth removed?

Most dentists in the UK agree it is usually best to leave wisdom teeth where they are, because surgery carries the risk of complications (see below). Therefore, dentists should only remove wisdom teeth if the teeth are causing discomfort or pain.


Wisdom teeth removal cost

Willows charges a competitive price for wisdom tooth removal. See our price list page for more information.

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