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Wisdom Teeth

2018 November 19
by Sanjay Narda

You may have heard that it is common for people to have their wisdom teeth removed, and you may know people who have had this procedure. It is, in fact one of the most common surgical procedures carried out in the UK. This may lead you to wonder if you need yours taken out, and it is a question that we often get asked by our patients.

So why do we get wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are our third molar teeth and they tend to erupt between the ages of 17-25 but they can come earlier or later than this and sometimes not at all! Scientists believe that we evolved into having wisdom teeth because our diet of course rough food resulted in excessive wear and tooth loss, so we got these extra teeth when we needed them. In recent times, we have evolved into having smaller jaws which means some people don’t have enough room for these teeth leading to impaction.

Reasons to have a wisdom tooth extracted.

  • Impaction – If there is not enough space for the wisdom teeth, or if they grow at the wrong angle, they can become impacted. Sometimes this doesn’t cause any problems but occasionally they can grow with enough force to damage the teeth in front.
  • Infection – Partially erupted wisdom teeth can be a source of infection. Because this area is so far back and hard to see, it is difficult to keep clean making it easy for bacteria to colonise.
  • Tooth decay – Again, because the teeth are so far back and hard to see and reach, plaque can gather around or between them which can lead to decay.

There are a few risks associated with having wisdom teeth extracted such as nerve damage. Nerve damage can lead to a loss of sensation in the area and sometimes complete numbness. There are also risks of an infection after the extraction called a dry socket which is a very painful situation. These risks along with others need to be taken into consideration before deciding on an extraction.

Visit our dental practice in Princes Risborough, Bucks for all your dental needs.

Dr Sanjay Narda

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