Wisdom teeth are well known for causing problems, and this is something we often see in our Leeds surgery. Wisdom teeth are the third molars, and generally begin erupting from the age of 17 onwards, but they may not erupt fully until some people are well into their 20s and they may never erupt in others. They are called wisdom teeth precisely because they come through when we’re a little older, and supposedly a little wiser. The reason we have wisdom teeth dates back to a time when our diet was a lot rougher and harder to chew, but this isn’t exactly the case nowadays. In fact people’s jaws have evolved to become smaller, and this can cause problems when they do try to erupt as there is simply insufficient room for them to do so.
Common Problems Caused by Wisdom Teeth
One of the most common problems is that the wisdom teeth try to erupt underneath existing teeth, or that they partially erupt. When this happens it’s quite common for food and bacteria to get trapped in the gum tissue, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease Leeds. This can be quite a problem, as many people find it difficult to clean their teeth thoroughly this far back in the mouth, and signs of disease can go undetected.
Sometimes an impacted wisdom tooth can cause a cyst to form in the soft tissue, and these can be potentially quite serious as they can damage the teeth and bones nearby.
On dental team here at Leeds City Dentalcare will be keeping an eye on your wisdom teeth at every visit, and if we think they may cause problems then we’ll recommend they are extracted. It’s often better to have them extracted sooner rather than later, as the teeth can fuse to the bones later in life making extraction more complex.
This may seem a little strange, especially if your wisdom teeth seem fine to you, and don’t really cause you any problems, but it’s been estimated up to 80% of wisdom teeth will eventually need extracting. A lack of pain doesn’t mean that everything is fine, even if they seem to have erupted normally. Another problem caused by wisdom teeth is that they can exacerbate overcrowding, making it more difficult to clean in between the teeth thoroughly.
Surgery to Remove Wisdom Teeth
You have probably heard a lot of horror stories about people having their wisdom teeth removed, but the truth is that it’s usually not complicated and really is nothing to be worried about. Most people are able to have their wisdom teeth removed relatively easily, and the surgery is quite quick. It’s likely to be done under a local anaesthetic, although you may be able to opt for a little extra sedation if you’re particularly nervous.
Afterwards the extraction site may feel a little uncomfortable, but you should be held to keep this under control with over-the-counter painkillers. The tooth socket may bleed for a while, but this should have completely ceased within 24 hours. Some people find it helpful to use moist heat to relieve any pain or discomfort, while an ice pack can be useful for reducing any swelling. Sticking to soft, easy to eat foods for a few days will allow the tooth socket to heal. Our dentist Leeds team at Leeds City Dentalcare will give you lots of advice on how to care for the extraction site, and how to keep the area clean. It is important to take a little bit of care as you don’t want to dislodge the blood clot that forms in the tooth socket. This blood clot protects the bone and nerves from infection and helps it to heal cleanly.