Wisdom teeth are your third molar teeth and are the last to come through. Most people have two wisdom teeth in the upper jaw and two in the lower jaw. Due to lack of space in your mouth, sometimes wisdom teeth may still be buried under the gums or can sit at the wrong angle. A wisdom tooth is impacted when it is obstructed from erupting fully, either by the tooth in front of it or the surrounding bone. Sometimes if the tooth has come through slightly but cannot come through all the way it can result in recurrent gum infections known as periocorinitis.
Wisdom teeth that haven’t erupted fully are breeding grounds for bacteria. This can cause tooth decay, infection and even affect its neighbouring teeth. If the tooth has partially come through and still has some gum over the top, it can also cause pain and swelling sometimes to the point of not being able to bite down fully.
If you have problems with a wisdom tooth, your dentist will advise you on the best course of action. This can be as simple as showing you some at home measures to reduce the symptoms, or could be the removal of the wisdom tooth. The removal of the tooth could either be a simple extraction or a more complex surgical procedure. This will be discussed with you by your dentist. Lower wisdom teeth can be close to your nerve that supplies sensation to your lower lip so sometimes precautionary measures need to be taken. Your dentist will advise you on the type of procedure that is appropriate, and whether this is done in the dental chair with local anaesthetic or in the hospital under general anaesthesia.