So adults can have up to 32 teeth. The wisdom teeth are the very last to appear, they are your third molar so appear right at the back of your mouth. If they are going to appear they usually erupt after the age of 17 but the age of eruptions varies greatly with this tooth and some patients never even get wisdom teeth.
Generally people only have enough room for 28 teeth so if your wisdom teeth do decide to erupt and all your other teeth are present and correct, then 32 teeth can be a slight squeeze, causing the wisdom teeth to not come through properly.
Will my wisdom teeth cause problems?
If your wisdom teeth are erupting and are not causing you any trouble, you do not need to worry. Patients often worry about their wisdom teeth, but with any tooth eruption we explain to all our patients experiencing slight discomfort is normal, this should ease once the tooth has fully come through.
What can I do to ease the discomfort?
If your wisdom teeth are erupting and you are concerned the best thing to do is to arrange an appointment with your dentist. This is just to ensure that the tooth or teeth are coming through correctly. At the half way transition your wisdom tooth may have a gum flap surrounding it, this may be sensitive but to ensure you do not get an infection you will need to make sure you are thoroughly cleaning around it. If any lingering food gets trapped under the flap of gum and is not cleaned away, you can develop pericoronitis, which is a slight gum infection. Small toothbrushes, or interdental aids doused with corsodyl gel can help to keep the area clean, it may be sore when cleaning but if you persevere it will quickly get better.
If your wisdom teeth are really causing you pain always contact your dental practice but for treatment at home we recommend warm salt water mouth rinses – as often as you can at home, over the counter analgesia & occasional use of chlorhexidine mouth wash which can help to reduce inflammation. The chlorhexidine mouthwash can make your teeth more susceptible to staining so we recommend you only use it before bed & less frequently than you would a normal mouthwash.
What does impacted mean?
If your dentist has described your wisdom tooth as impacted, this means there is not a sufficient amount of space for your tooth to erupt correctly and it may be coming through at an angle & sometimes into the tooth in front. Sometimes this can be completely painless and no bother to the patient but in other cases it can cause discomfort and the patient may need an extraction either in the dental surgery or in a hospital setting. Where it is extracted depends on the patient and the difficulty of the extraction, this will be determined by the dentist with radiographs.
Return to Blog