The painful truth about wisdom teeth

Written by: Top Doctors®
Edited by: Top Doctors®

Wisdom teeth are synonymous with pain and discomfort. Also known as third molars, wisdom teeth appear at the back of the mouth most commonly between the ages of 18 and 24. Most people usually have four of them in total. Although in some cases they may not cause any problems, they usually have to be removed because of the agony and possible infections they bring about.


What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to form in the mouth, usually when all other adult teeth are in place. Most people develop four wisdom teeth, one in each corner of the mouth, but it is possible to have less than four wisdom teeth, or even more.

Occasionally wisdom teeth may form healthily and aligned with adjacent teeth, in which case they can be useful. For most people, however, this is not the case. As the mouth is already full, wisdom teeth are often misaligned and grow at odd angles as they jostle for space. It is also possible for wisdom teeth to become stuck as they grow, either before they penetrate the surface of the gum or as they push through. In these cases it is most likely that the individual will experience symptoms such as swelling and pain.

Sometimes wisdom teeth show no symptoms at all, but may cause other problems in the mouth.


Why have your wisdom teeth removed?

If wisdom teeth are hindering an individual’s quality of life, or causing severe pain, wisdom tooth removal is the most common course of action.

There are a number of reasons extracting wisdom teeth is recommended. These include:


  • Possible infection of the gum, occurring in around %60 of patients as a result of a wisdom tooth. Although sometimes the symptoms may not be severe, in most cases gum infection causes serious pain and swelling
  • Wisdom teeth can also cause tooth decay which in turn affects the nerve of the tooth, giving rise to the possibility of an abscess forming
  • In 1% of cases, a cyst forms around the wisdom tooth, also causing pain and discomfort
  • Gum disease may also occur as a result of a wisdom tooth


If you have any doubts about what wisdom tooth surgery involves, get in touch with one of our specialists.


By Topdoctors
Oral & maxillofacial surgery

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