What are wisdom teeth?
Most people have four wisdom teeth, one in each back corner of your mouth. They grow through your gums when you are a teenager or in your early twenties. Unfortunately, in some mouths, teeth can be quite crowded so there is not always space for wisdom teeth to come through easily. They can grow at weird angles or just come through partially. This is called being ‘impacted’.
What problems can they cause?
Impacted wisdom teeth can create problems as bacteria can grow around them which causes plaque to build up. This can cause tooth decay or gum disease and, in extreme cases cellulitis. This is an infection in your cheek, tongue or throat or a nasty abscess.
As ever, the secret to avoiding these problems is to keep your wisdom teeth really, really clean. Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and avoid sugary snacks between meals. If your wisdom teeth start to niggle and feel uncomfortable, especially when you brush them, don’t be tempted to clean them less. Brush them more, gently but thoroughly. If the niggle doesn’t die down, make sure you consult your dentist who can help you with your oral hygiene and assess if you need any treatment. If the teeth have become infected, a course of antibiotics and a mouthwash will more often than not solve the problem, without needing to remove the teeth.
Years ago, dentists used to take wisdom teeth out as a precautionary method before they even came through. This was just in case they caused problems in the future. These days the thinking is totally different. No one wants to advocate surgery until it’s a last resort. NICE guidelines say that a patient needs to have two episodes of infection before removing wisdom teeth is considered by a dentist. As always, prevention is better than cure. Maintaining the highest standard of oral hygiene possible is your best chance of keeping all of your teeth healthy.
Revive Dental Care welcomes new NHS patients to join us at our practices in Monton, Davyhulme, Bexley Square Salford and Ancoats.