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Wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth


What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third adult molar that people naturally have. They usually come through between the ages of 18-21. People can have up to four wisdom teeth, one in each corner of their mouths.


Not everybody has wisdom teeth. Some people have wisdom teeth but they never grow through the gum into their mouth, whilst other people have some or all of wisdom teeth present.


Problems with wisdom teeth

Often wisdom teeth come through into a good position, but it is also relatively common that people’s wisdom teeth grow at a strange angle or are pushed into adjacent teeth, gum or bone (impacted).

If you have wisdom teeth that are only partially through the gum or that are impacted, then they can be very difficult to keep clean and can cause pain or discomfort.

In some cases they become decayed or you could develop gum infections.

If bacteria and food debris collect around the tooth frequently and it is not thoroughly removed, then this can cause the gum near the tooth to become inflamed and swollen (known as pericoronitis). If this persists then the area can become infected and painful.

Sometimes a top wisdom tooth can bite down on the gum around the bottom partially through wisdom tooth and this can cause the lower gum to become very sore and swollen.

Occasionally wisdom teeth infections can to spread the surrounding areas and can be severe enough to cause a facial swelling and difficulty opening your jaw. This can also be associated with a fever and a feeling of being generally unwell. If this happens it is very important that you visit your dentist as soon as possible, where you may need to be prescribed an antibiotic.


How do I treat symptoms caused by my wisdom teeth?

If you have an impacted wisdom tooth, it is important to keep it as clean as possible, with twice daily brushing and flossing or using an interdental brush.

Gently but thoroughly, clean the area with a soft toothbrush and if possible clean between the wisdom tooth and the tooth in front with dental floss or an interdental brush.

You can also try rinsing your mouth regularly with hot (not boiling) saltwater or antibacterial mouthwashes to reduce soreness, inflammation and the build up of bacteria.

Being careful not to eat and drink sugary foods and drinks between meals is also important. This will help prevent tooth decay.

Maintaining good oral hygiene will also help prevent problems with the gum around the tooth. If you are unsure how to clean this difficult area properly, then your dentist or hygienist can advise you.

If severe infection occurs frequently or the wisdom tooth is causing decay to the tooth next it, it may be advised that your wisdom tooth is extracted. This is usually carried out under local anaesthetic but a general anaesthetic may be required in complex cases.


Do I need to visit the dentist about my wisdom tooth?

You can relieve some of the symptoms of painful wisdom teeth without visiting the dentist.

If you have soreness, inflammation, a bad taste or bleeding from the area around the wisdom tooth or gum, then keeping it as clean as possible will help.

In some cases pain killers may also be effective, such as a combination of paracetamol and ibuprofen in correct doses.

If you experience symptoms from your wisdom teeth for more than 2-3 days visit your dentist.

Sometimes having the area thoroughly cleaned by your dentist and followed up with extra oral hygiene measures at home will be all that is needed.


Taking out wisdom teeth

If you have repeated problems caused by your wisdom tooth then it may be necessary to consider having the tooth extracted.

All wisdom teeth need to be individually assessed to work out how straightforward or complex it will be to remove them. This is dependant on what angle they are at and whether they are impacted, if they are partially or fully erupted.

With lower wisdom teeth the proximity of the nerve that supplies sensation to the lip needs to be carefully considered.

In advance of taking out your wisdom teeth, X-rays will be taken to determine whether the extraction can be carried out at the practice or whether it will be necessary to refer you on to a specialist oral surgeon. Your dentist will discuss this with you and answer any questions you may have.

If we are able to remove the tooth at the practice we will advise on the appropriate length of appointment (usually between 30-45 minutes) and what level of discomfort you might expect afterwards. We will advise you whether you may need to consider time off work or any effects on other day to day activities.

We are aware that a tooth extraction is a treatment that patients are often anxious about, so the treatment itself will be carried out under local anaesthetic . We will ensure that the process of removing the tooth is as comfortable as possible for you.

Once the wisdom tooth is removed we will provide you with appropriate advice on how to help the area heal most effectively, recommendations on appropriate pain relief, when you should expect the anaesthetic to wear off and when will be able to eat again.


How much does it cost to have a wisdom tooth removed?

The cost of your removing your wisdom tooth will vary depending on the position of the tooth and the expected time required to perform the treatment.

Your dentist will advise you of this at the time of booking and provide you with a written estimate.

Wisdom tooth extractions start from £65 per tooth.

The cost of wisdom tooth extraction is included in the Complete Care Plans

For full pricing details, download our latest Price Guide



For more information about your wisdom teeth, download our patient information leaflet.




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