Frequently Asked Questions: Wisdom Teeth.
Q. What are wisdom teeth?
A. Wisdom teeth are the four teeth that sit the furthest back in your mouth. They are the last of your 32 teeth to come through.
Q. At what age should I expect my wisdom teeth to come through?
A. Wisdom teeth usually erupt between the ages of 17 and 25. In some people they can erupt much later; in others they never come through.
Q. I can feel my wisdom teeth inside my gum but they don't seem to be able to break through. Why is that?
A. Your jaws may only have room to accommodate 28 teeth. So when the last of your 32 teeth – the wisdom teeth – try to erupt, there's no room.
Q. Does everyone need to have their wisdom teeth removed?
A. No. Your wisdom teeth only need to be removed if they are decayed or if they are causing you pain.
Q. I think I may need to have my wisdom teeth taken out but I'm afraid that it will be too painful. Does it really hurt that much?
A. With local anaesthetic you should not feel any pain during the extraction, but you may experience swelling and some discomfort for a few days after the teeth have been removed.
Q. I'm due to have my wisdom teeth removed and I'd prefer a general anaesthetic. Can I have one?
A. Yes. It is possible to have a General Anaesthetic but most dental surgeries can now offer intravenous sedation. You'll be awake throughout but you won't feel a thing and you won't even remember the appointment.
Q. Will I need to go to hospital to have my wisdom teeth removed?
A. Not necessarily. In most cases it's possible to have your wisdom teeth extracted at the dental surgery, but more complex cases may be referred to an oral surgeon.
Q. What risks do I need to be aware of before I decide to have my wisdom teeth removed?
A. Any form of surgery involves an element of minor risk and some patients experience pain and swelling after surgery. When lower wisdom teeth are removed, there is a risk of bruising to the nerves at the root of your teeth, which can cause temporary numbness and tingling in your lips and tongue.
Q. Will I need to take time off work when my wisdom teeth are taken out – and if so - how much?
A. This varies from person to person and can depend on the difficulty of the extraction. As a rough guide, allow for 4 to 5 days recovery time.
Q. My upper wisdom teeth need to be removed. Will I suffer pain after the procedure?
A. Upper wisdom teeth are relatively easy to extract and you shouldn't experience any significant post-operative pain. Your dentist will supply analgesics to deal with any discomfort you suffer and, if you are nervous about the procedure, the treatment can be carried out under conscious sedation.
Q. If my lower wisdom teeth are removed will the shape of my face change?
A. No. The shape of your face shouldn't change because your jaw line is defined by your lower jaw - not by your teeth.