The average adult will have 32 teeth, wisdom teeth are the last to appear at the back of the mouth. They generally come through between the ages of 17-25 and in some cases they can come though later in life.
Some people only have sufficient space for 28 teeth and may not have the room for wisdom teeth.
Provided that the wisdom teeth have enough room they should come through without anything more than some minor discomfort. However, if the wisdom teeth do not have sufficient space to come through they may press against the tooth in front and start to come through on an angle. This is generally described as an impacted tooth.
When the wisdom tooth starts to push through the gum there may remain a flap of gum covering part of the wisdom tooth. This gum may become sore and sometimes swollen this is called pericoronitis. This flap of gum may trap bits of food and bacteria and can often be hard to clean however the use of mouthwashes and special cleaning methods and possibly antibiotics can help.
If these treatments do not work and you find yourself in pain, then a visit to your dentist is recommended. They may give the area around the wisdom tooth a thorough clean or even prescribe antibiotics.
If you have any doubts about the position of the wisdom tooth or if it has enough room to come through the dentist may take an x-ray to confirm this.
Wisdom teeth are generally not removed unless they are causing you pain or have not got enough room to come through.
How difficult it will be to remove your wisdom teeth cannot be predetermined but your dentist will be able to advise you after looking at an x-ray. In many cases your dentist will be able to remove them using a local anaesthetic, however for more difficult extractions you may have to be referred to a specialist who will remove them in hospital. Occasionally the lower wisdom tooth removal may result in some numbness of the lips, your dentist will be able to advise you if this is a possibility.
Removal of the wisdom teeth may cause some swelling of the face for a few days but this will subside leaving you with no outward difference to your face.
You may experience some pain and discomfort after the removal of your wisdom teeth. It is important that you follow any advice given to you by your dentist and avoid smoking or drinking alcohol. If needed normal painkillers such as paracetamol will normally be sufficient. In some cases, sutures in the gum may be required. A follow up appointment will probably be recommended by your dentist about a week after the extraction.
The cost of removing wisdom teeth will vary depending on the difficulty of removal and whether or not they need to be removed in hospital.