Why is a wisdom tooth called a wisdom tooth?
I was asked by a patient the other day – 'why is a wisdom tooth called a wisdom tooth'? I responded with what I thought sounded like a very intellectual answer 'Wisdom teeth are so named because of the time they appear, generally in the late teens or early twenties, when people are supposed to be gaining some bit of wisdom in life.' Good answer, I thought. She then proceeded to ask me 'So if I have no wisdom teeth, are you insinuating I have no wisdom?' So what I learnt from that experience was, before I answer the same question in future, I must check whether or not the person in question has had their wisdom teeth or not.
So here I have prepared some FAQ about wisdom teeth.
If you would like to know more or have a wisdom tooth that is causing you pain conact us and get help from our london dentists
What is the wisdom tooth?
Your wisdom teeth are your third molars. Everyone has a natural complement of 32 adult teeth in their lifetime. Some people have more than 32 teeth, some have less. The third molar will be the last adult tooth to erupt and it normally surfaces around 18-21 years of age.
What is an impacted wisdom tooth?
An impacted wisdom tooth is one which has grown in a wrong or unnatural position. An impacted wisdom tooth may require wisdom tooth surgery to remove it. Your dentist will take x-rays to determine the degree of impaction before removal.
Why does the wisdom tooth give problems?
Due to its late eruption and the lack of space that the jaw may have to accommodate it, the wisdom tooth may not be able to erupt properly or may even remain buried. An impacted wisdom tooth can cause food to be easily trapped and cause gum inflammation and swelling leading to pain and infection.
Do I have to remove an impacted wisdom tooth is?
Removal of the wisdom tooth depends on a case to case basis. If the wisdom tooth has come through properly and you are experiencing no problems from it, then it is best to leave it as it is. If however there is difficulty in keeping it clean and there is a high chance that it might give problems in the future then it may be an option to consider removal.
Our london dentists normally recommend at least 3 repeat infections before we consider extracting the wisdom teeth.
How is the wisdom tooth removed?
This will depend on the degree of impaction of the wisdom tooth.
- Simple wisdom tooth extraction: this is for wisdom teeth which have erupted fully and there is no need for surgery. The procedure is normally done under local anaesthesia.
- Wisdom tooth surgery: this is for impacted wisdom teeth or a difficult wisdom tooth extraction where surgery needs to be performed in order to remove the wisdom tooth.
This can be done under
- Local anaesthesia: the surgeon will administer local anaesthetic and proceed with the surgery once the surgical site is numb
- General anaesthesia: a general anaesthetic drug is administered by a trained anaesthesiologist before the surgical procedure is initiated
- Sedation: a sedative drug is used to help you relax, you are fully awake during the procedure, but will have no recollection of the treatment being carried out.
What are the risks and complications of wisdom tooth surgery?
Wisdom tooth surgery as with all other surgical procedures does not come without its own set of risks and complications.
The most important risks are
- Paraesthesia ( altered sensation )
- Anaesthesia ( total numbness) of the lips,chin and tongue on the damaged side.
- Tooth sensation on the damaged side may also be affected.
- The above are mostly caused by nerve injury, and the chances of this occurring are 1- 5 % and the chances of a nerve injury might go higher depending on the anatomy of the patient involved.