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Derek Reffin

I have been a patient at Dental fx for the last 3 years and can truthfully say it has been a most positive experience.

Derek Reffin
16 January 2016
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Wisdom Teeth Problems

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A normal adult mouth contains 32 teeth. If we split the mouth into quarters, each quarter of the mouth will have up to eight teeth. The molar right at the back has become known as the 'wisdom tooth'. They need to be removed quite often and this can be challenging because of their position at the very back of the mouth.

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to come in are often short of space. Because of this they very often do not fully grow (erupt) into the mouth. They may have a piece of gum over the back part of the biting surface and this therefore makes them vulnerable to infection (pericoronitis) as it is a very difficult area to clean. Lower wisdom teeth are very commonly infected. Infections will present symptoms such as stiffness or inability to open the mouth (trismus), pain when biting on the area, swelling over the back part of the jaw, and a bad taste in the mouth.

Infection can be kept to a minimum by good oral hygiene and stopping smoking. If the infection becomes established then using warm (not too hot) salty water mouth rinses can be help to alleviate the discomfort. The upper third molar often bites on the gum overlying the tooth and it is therefore possible that the dentist may suggest that the upper wisdom tooth be removed or ground down. In some cases, a course of antibiotics may be given to help combat the infection.

Wisdom teeth are also susceptible to dental decay and gum disease (periodontal disease) and can contribute to gum disease or decay around the adjacent molar tooth.

In the past it was common for wisdom teeth to be removed but nowadays, if the tooth is not causing problems, your dentist will not want to remove it. We will only remove wisdom teeth:

  • when it is evident that the tooth (or teeth) will not be able to come through into a useful position. This can be 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 and there is no sign that they will come through any further - such teeth will often decay as it will be difficult to clean them as thoroughly as your other teeth and therefore the best option would be to remove the tooth,
  • if they cause continual pain

After removal of a wisdom tooth you can expect to experience some discomfort. Full after care instructions are given both verbally and in writing before you leave the surgery but if you are in any doubt please do call us and one of the team will be happy to help you.

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