What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth tend to erupt between the ages of seventeen and twenty-five. An average mouth has four, two on the bottom jaw and two on the upper jaw. They are the last teeth to erupt, and often there is not enough space in the mouth to accommodate them. Sometimes this forces the teeth into abnormal positions, which can interfere with their eruption causing them to erupt partially or to damage other teeth as they grow. The most common issue is an infection called pericoronitis, which is an inflammation of the soft tissue surrounding the partially erupted tooth.

 

Symptoms

  • Pain, swelling and inflammation of the gums around the wisdom teeth.
  • Sore throat.
  • Swelling of the lymph glands under the jaw.
  • Swelling of the face and jaw.
  • A bad taste or odor in the mouth.
  • Difficulty chewing and eating.

Prevention and treatment

There is nothing a patient can do to influence the eruption of the wisdom teeth. Your dentist will usually wait until the teeth have erupted or partially erupted before a decision on treatment is made and executed. Wisdom teeth which are not prone to infection, or do not threaten the other teeth, are generally left alone and monitored. If problems arise, or infection reoccurs, the management stage has past and the dentist will usually recommend extraction.

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