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Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last teeth to push through the gum (erupt) generally between the ages of 18 to 24 years of age. In some patients a wisdom tooth may not have enough space to fit in the mouth properly, this is known as an impacted wisdom tooth.

Although it is possible your wisdom teeth may initially cause no problems, ultimately problems may arise particularly when they only have enough space to partially cut through the gum. This is knows as impacted wisdom teeth.

You may have difficulty opening your mouth or swallowing when a wisdom tooth is causing trouble and the following conditions are common when wisdom teeth are impacted:

Infection

An impacted wisdom tooth may have a flap of gum resting over the top of the tooth. This flap of gum may allow food particles and bacteria to get trapped. This could trap develop into an infection starting around the top of the tooth. Infection and inflammation (swollen red gums) can cause pain, swelling and jaw stiffness.

Crowding

A wisdom tooth may push nearby teeth out of their correct position. This could lead to crowding of front teeth.

Cysts

A cyst is a fluid filled sack that may form around a wisdom tooth. The cyst could damage bone, weaken the jaw or cause problems to other teeth or gums.

Damage to nearby molars

An impacted wisdom tooth may keep pushing against the molars next to it. This could lead to damage of other teeth.

Of course no one wants there wisdom teeth removed unless it’s necessary. We are very conservative about any tooth removal and ensure that an X-ray (OPG) is taken before the final decision is made to remove them or not.

If one or more of your wisdom teeth need removal we offer every option available to make it the most comfortable experience possible. This includes dental sedation or referral to an excellent specialist oral surgeon if a general anaesthetic is required.

An infected wisdom tooth can cause serious medical problems. Therefore, it is important to contact us straight away to make an appointment for an assessment. During this appointment we may need to gently cleanse away the infection around your wisdom tooth. Often pain killers and/or antibiotics are prescribed to help alleviate the pain and infection the wisdom tooth may be causing well before it is actually removed.