Wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth

Frequently asked questions about wisdom teeth

  1. What are wisdom teeth?
  2. Why are wisdom teeth removed?
  3. How are wisdom teeth removed?
  4. How long will it take to recover from wisdom teeth removal?


1. What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth, also known as 3rd molars, are the last tooth in the arch on both the upper and lower jaws. Wisdom teeth are just another molar and their function is to help with chewing food.

Not everyone has wisdom teeth! Wisdom teeth can stay buried under the gums for your entire life and never erupt and some people don’t have them at all.

Wisdom teeth will typically start erupting from the age of 17-21 years old and are the last teeth in the mouth to erupt. Wisdom teeth can take a while to fully come through and can sometimes cause pain, whereas some people may not even know they have them!

2. Why are wisdom teeth removed?

Wisdom teeth do not have to be removed if they are fully functional, but are usually removed if they start to cause problems, such as:

  • Partially erupting and become stuck due to the anatomy of the jaw and teeth around, which can cause food to trap in the small gaps leading to tooth decay and gum disease
  • Erupting in an incorrect position makes them harder to keep clean which can lead to gum swelling and pain.
  • Impacting the neighbouring teeth, which can cause the bone surrounding of the neighbouring teeth, and even the roots of the neighbouring teeth themselves to resorb.

Your dentist will advise you if your wisdom teeth are likely to cause problems in the future and may recommend extractions.

3. How are wisdom teeth removed?

Wisdom teeth can be removed by a general dentist, or by an oral surgeon. Your general dentist will use X-Rays to understand how the wisdom tooth and its roots are positioned within the mouth. Often the procedure can be done under just local anaesthetic and it may be quick and simple.

If the wisdom tooth is hard to access, due to being at the back of the jaw and being mispositioned, the tooth may be more complex to remove and it may need to be removed in sections with stitches placed afterwards. Sometimes your dentist may think it would be more appropriate for a specialist to remove your wisdom tooth, they will refer you to an oral surgeon. This can be done under local anaesthetic, combined with sedation or under general anaesthetic.

4How long will it take to recover from wisdom teeth removal?

You will not feel any pain when your wisdom tooth is removed, as you will be given local anaesthetic to numb up the area and make the process more comfortable for you.

You will need to eat soft foods for a few days whilst the socket heals – ice cream, yoghurt and scrambled eggs are excellent options!

If you are in pain, your oral surgeon or dentist will provide advice on what pain relief can be taken.

We would recommend you keep the area clean and gargle with salty water rinses.

You should be back to your normal self after a few days!

If you still have pain after a few days, or have any concerns about the extraction, please call your dentist or oral surgeon for their advice.


If you would like more information about wisdom teeth, or you are concerned about your wisdom teeth, why not give us a call on 01772 335207 or fill out the contact form and we will be in touch.

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