Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Wisdom Teeth are the last teeth to appear at the back of your mouth, from the late teens onwards. Most people have four wisdom teeth, some people have fewer and on occasions some people have none, this is not a concern.


Because they are the last teeth to form, there may not be enough room for them. This can cause them to erupt at an angle either pressing against the teeth in front or the bone behind.

We will routinely monitor through your earlier years how your teeth and jaws grow. X-ray pictures will show us where the wisdom teeth are positioned in the gum and how much space there is for them to come through. Sometimes they can cause damage to the teeth immediately in front of them. The x-rays will also provide enough detail for us to decide if it would be a simple or difficult extraction.

As wisdom teeth are coming through, the surrounding gum sometimes becomes inflamed and sore. This is called ‘pericoronitis’ which may settle or come and go over a period of time. If you experience repeated bouts of pericoronitis it is usually better to have the wisdom tooth removed.  At any stage if you have concerns, please make an appointment to discuss or mention it at your next visit.

What if I need my wisdom teeth removed?

Most wisdom teeth are removed under a local anaesthetic. However if the tooth looks difficult to remove, you may be offered sedation (something to make you drowsy) or a general anaesthetic (only given in hospitals) may be considered. Depending upon the difficulty of the extraction and the nature of your work, you will require anywhere between two days and two weeks away from work to recover.

Taking wisdom teeth out is not always without risk. The lower wisdom teeth lie very close to the dental nerve which can be damaged during the procedure. In some cases this can lead to numbness in part of the tongue or in some teeth and part of the lower lip and chin. This is often temporary and the risk is certainly something to be considered when deciding on taking wisdom teeth out.

What are the benefits of removing wisdom teeth, which are causing problems?

If you have your wisdom teeth removed, there will be no more pain and infection. It will usually make it easier for you to keep your mouth clean. Normally there is no need to have wisdom teeth removed unless they are causing you problems.