So, what is it with wisdom teeth?

6th February 2017

Named because they don’t typically appear until we are in our late teens or twenties (when we are deemed to have gained knowledge and worldly insight), wisdom teeth are the third and last molars on each side of the upper and lower jaws. Most of us have four of these, one at each corner of our mouths.

Benefits and potential problems

Wisdom teeth that come through properly positioned can work in our favour, improving our bite and the ability to thoroughly chew our food. Often though, because of lack of space, these late comers can become impacted, that is they are trapped beneath the teeth beside them, emerging at an angle or getting stuck and only partially emerging. In these cases, severe pain or discomfort can result and it essential that your dentist is consulted as soon as possible to determine whether an extraction is required.

Wisdom teeth removal

Having wisdom teeth removed is one of the most common dental procedures and dependent on the angle and position of the tooth, should be straightforward. In a small number of cases (between 2% and 5%) an extraction can result in a complication known as dry socket (or alveolar osteitis), when the gum fails to heal properly leaving the space where the tooth has been removed open to infection. Though this can be painful, it is easily treated and should usually resolve itself in 7 – 10 days.

If you have had an extraction and are experiencing any bleeding or discomfort, we strongly recommend a chat with your dentist as a follow-up examination may be needed.


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Coppice View Dental Care
104 Kings Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 5HH