Wisdom teeth are the final set of molars to emerge. They usually appear during the late teens or early twenties. For some people, wisdom teeth may only partially erupt, or even remain buried within the gum tissue.
Problems with wisdom teeth
Most wisdom teeth grow without any problems but as they are the last teeth to emerge there may not be much room to accommodate them so it is relatively common to find them growing in at an angle or only partially emerged, and this sometimes causes discomfort or pain.
Wisdom teeth that are partially emerged (impacted) or press into the surrounding teeth are more difficult to keep clean and this can potentially affect the health of the gums and neighbouring teeth. If bacteria and food debris build up around the tooth it may lead to a condition known as pericoronitis, where the gum becomes inflamed and swollen. Eventually the area can become infected and cause you to feel unwell. If this happens, it is very important that you make an appointment to see us as soon as possible.
Wisdom tooth removal
As long as they are healthy we recommend that impacted wisdom teeth are left in place. Unless the tooth is causing problems there is no reliable research that removing it will benefit you.
If removal is recommended and the tooth is fully emerged our experienced dentists normally carry out the procedure under local anaesthetic. For impacted teeth we offer intravenous sedation. A simple procedure only takes a few minutes, but it can take longer than 20 minutes for a more complex extraction. If you are nervous about the procedure we will talk you through the different sedation options and help you decide which would be best for you.