Adults can have up to 32 teeth. The wisdom teeth are the last to come through, right at the back. They usually appear when you are between 17 and 25, although sometimes they appear many years later.Nowadays people often have jaws that are too small for all 32 teeth – 28 is often the most we have room for. So if all the other teeth are present and healthy there may not be enough space for the wisdom teeth to come through properly.
Do wisdom teeth always cause problems?
No. If there is enough room they will usually come through into a useful position and cause no more problems than any other tooth.Often there will be some slight discomfort as they come through, but this is only temporary and will disappear once the tooth is fully in position.
What are the main reasons for taking wisdom teeth out?
- When it is clear that the wisdom teeth will not be able to come through into a useful position because there is not enough room, and they are also causing some pain or discomfort.
- If they have only partly come through and are decayed – such teeth will often be more likely to decay as it will be difficult to clean them as thoroughly as your other teeth.
- If the wisdom tooth is causing a cleaning problem and has no real use.
- If the wisdom tooth starts to ‘over-grow’. This often happens if the lower one has already been removed or is impacted and cannot come through, and the upper one has no tooth to bite against. The upper one will come down too far, looking for a tooth to make contact with.
- If they are painful.