Wisdom Teeth and Their Removal: What You Need to Know

Your comprehensive guide to Wisdom Teeth and Extraction.
Your comprehensive guide to Wisdom Teeth and Extraction.
Written by
Edgbaston Smile
Published on
June 10, 2024

So, let’s start by explaining what Wisdom Teeth are! Wisdom teeth are molar teeth which typically start to grow into the mouth in your late teens and early twenties. There is usually one wisdom tooth in each corner of the mouth but sometimes one or more may be naturally missing. It has been suggested that hundreds of years ago our jaws were wider so when wisdom teeth came through, they served as additional teeth for chewing. In modern times they more commonly do not serve a functional purpose. In fact, wisdom teeth can often complicate cleaning and lead to other issues including toothache and infection.

What are the first signs of wisdom teeth coming in?

Teething in babies is associated with drooling, soreness, mild temperature and cheek flushing. Interestingly as the gum is much tougher in adults, wisdom teeth can appear without any signs at all. You may visually notice a white corner of a tooth appearing at the back of the mouth and this is common when the tooth doesn’t have enough space to come through fully. As the tooth moves, a dull ache can occur on one side of the jaw. Over time, the gum around a partly buried wisdom tooth can get irritated if difficult to clean. The surrounding gum may swell, bleed or even give a bad taste in the mouth.

Do Wisdom Teeth always need to be removed? 

For some people, wisdom teeth emerge without any issues and align properly with the other teeth. However, for many others, these teeth can cause significant dental problems. The necessity for removal often depends on several factors:

  1. Impaction: Wisdom teeth may become impacted, meaning they are trapped beneath the gum and do not fully emerge. This can lead to pain, swelling, and infection.
  2. Crowding: If there is not enough space in the mouth, wisdom teeth can push against other teeth, causing crowding and misalignment.
  3. Decay and Gum Disease: Wisdom teeth are located at the back of the mouth, making them difficult to clean properly. This can lead to cavities and gum disease.
  4. Cysts and Tumours: In rare cases, impacted wisdom teeth can lead to the formation of cysts or tumours, which can damage the jawbone and other teeth.

What does the wisdom tooth removal procedure entail?

Every person and every tooth is different so it can be helpful to avoid hearing stories from friends and family. The wisdom tooth procedure is tailored to each individual by their surgeon following assessment of the tooth’s shape and position. This often includes a clinical inspection and an X-ray image.

When the tooth is partly covered by gum this is usually lifted to get access to the tooth. Large wisdom teeth, or those with multiple roots, are sometimes separated into 2 or 3 smaller pieces which can be removed more easily. Treatments are provided with good local anaesthetic to ensure all aspects are comfortable but sometimes procedures can last up to an hour. For patients who are anxious, we have facilities to work with consultant anaesthetists to ensure you don’t see, hear or feel anything if that is your preference.

How long does it take to recover from extraction of wisdom teeth?

Once the tooth has been removed the speed of the healing will be dependent on your own body and the complexity of the removal. We don’t advise any strenuous activity (gym or it may be relevant to work) for at least 24 hours.

Some people will comfortably return to work the next day and this is typical after a straightforward removal. Some healing can be much slower and a week off may be preferred, especially when the discomfort has affected the individual’s sleep. On the day of your treatment your surgeon will go through the tailored instructions and advice for getting the best healing.

In summary, wisdom teeth do not always need to be removed, but many cases warrant extraction to prevent or address oral health issues. Consulting with a dental professional can provide personalised guidance based on your specific situation.

To book your appointment with our specialist Oral Surgeon Dr Andrew Kalli, please call the clinic on 0121 456 7930, or click here to book online.

Edgbaston Smile
Edgbaston Smile Clinic in Birmingham offers a wide range of cosmetic and restorative dental treatments to refresh, restore and rejuvenate your smile. Our aim is to promote oral health and achieve great aesthetic and functional results.

Our ethos is to place our clients’ needs at the centre of everything that we do and provide the highest quality of service.
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