The removal of wisdom teeth, or third molars, is one of the most common procedures carried out in the UK.
The wisdom teeth grow at the back of your gums and are the last teeth to come through. Most people have four wisdom teeth – one in each corner.
Wisdom teeth usually grow through the gums during the late teens or early twenties. By this time, the other 28 adult teeth are usually in place, so there isn’t always enough room in the mouth for the wisdom teeth to grow properly.
Because of the lack of space, the wisdom teeth can sometimes emerge at an angle or get stuck and only partially emerge. Wisdom teeth that grow through like this are known as impacted.
When to see a dentist
You should make an appointment to see your dentist if you’re experiencing severe pain or discomfort from your wisdom teeth. Your dentist will check your teeth and advise you on whether they need to be removed.
If your dentist thinks you may need your wisdom teeth removed, they’ll usually carry out an X-ray of your mouth. This gives them a clearer view of the position of your teeth.
As with any teeth problems, it’s important to see your dentist as soon as possible, rather than waiting for your regular dental check-up.
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