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What You Need to Know About Wisdom Teeth

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shutterstock_173811554Wisdom teeth are more formally known as the third molars and are located at the rear of the mouth. The term ‘wisdom teeth’ is thought to have been coined because these teeth tend to appear later in life when people are wiser. Most people usually get them when they are in their late teenage years or early twenties. They usually erupt at each corner of the mouth (usually four in total, but sometimes more, and it’s not uncommon for some people to never even get their wisdom teeth.

For some people, their wisdom teeth don’t cause them any problems or pain at all. But for others, they can cause pain when there isn’t enough space for them to erupt and they start to push on other teeth. When this happens they are referred to as being “impacted”.

This impaction results in many people needing to have one or more of their wisdom teeth removed to alleviate the pressure that is causing the pain. Regular visits to your dentist will identify if your wisdom teeth are emerging, and whether they are in need of removal. .

Partially erupted wisdom teeth can also cause regular infections and constant pain, so they are usually removed to avoid these risks.

shutterstock_178444697If you do need your wisdom teeth to be extracted, this can often be done by your dentist or they may need to refer you to a specialist oral surgeon if it’s a more difficult case (for example, if the tooth is too close to a nerve. ).

Most singular wisdom tooth extractions are usually done under a local anaesthetic.However, more difficult cases may  require a general anaesthetic, which makes it easier for the surgeon and more comfortable for the patient.

Extraction of wisdom teeth is a very common procedure, and most people go through this at some point in their lives. The recovery process is around 10 days, in which you need to be careful with solid foods and hard brushing. The pain usually subsides on its own, but a program of painkillers is usually prescribed for directly after the procedure.

While the risks of this procedure are minimal, your dentist or surgeon will always brief you on your particular case  and the risks involved, so you can make an informed decision about your choices.

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