23 Jun 2021

Wisdom teeth, everything you need to know

How many wisdom teeth are there?

The last teeth to erupt in the dental arch are called third molars or wisdom teeth. Normally there are 4 (2 in the lower jaw and 2 in the upper jaw). But the number is unpredictable, being able to form all, none of the 4, some or rarely, more than 4 (periodontics).

When do wisdom teeth appear?

They usually complete the eruption between the ages of 18 and 30, that is why wisdom teeth are defined. And they can take years to erupt and sometimes they never come out completely.

How do wisdom teeth come out?

As the last teeth to form, they sometimes don’t have enough room to come in all the way. Wisdom teeth can erupt in different ways depending on how that tooth is born or the situation in the patient’s mouth. If the wisdom teeth are in an abnormal position, such as semi-impacted or impacted (bony inclusion), they can cause inflammation of the area and sometimes develop into abscessed infections.


Semi-impaction is considered when the tooth has not completely erupted, that is, when the tooth is completely or partially covered by soft tissue (gingival mucosa).


We speak of impaction, when the tooth is completely covered by bone, that is, when the tooth cannot come out. This can be for a number of reasons: the teeth are crowded and don’t have room to come out, the jaw is too small for them to come out, or the tooth tilts or twists when it tries to come out.

Impaction is a very common pathology and usually does not hurt, but it can create displacements in the nearest teeth and cause cavities in the neighboring teeth. Also known as impacted wisdom teeth.

Wisdom teeth extraction


The symptomatology of wisdom teeth is very typical. They start with a discomfort in the gum that tends to swell. Sometimes the patient notices a swelling of the face in the area of ​​​​the wisdom tooth. Symptoms can be accompanied by fever and headache.

Cases and treatments

Sometimes drug therapy is enough to cure the infection and inflammation in the area. However, if the patient suffers repeated episodes of inflammation, the most appropriate strategy is extraction. The cases in which extraction is recommended are when there is a semi-impaction. In these cases, a chronic inflammation of the gum called pericoronitis is created, caused by the accumulation of food debris and plaque.

Another situation in which extraction is recommended is when the wisdom teeth are tilted (due to the risk of causing cavities in the neighboring teeth). Extraction is also recommended when they have cavities or when due to their position they can cause periodontal problems in the neighboring teeth.

How old can wisdom teeth be extracted?

There is no well-established age to extract wisdom teeth. In general, if the tooth begins to bother, it would be preferable to extract it when it is still in the form of a tooth germ.

How is the extraction of wisdom teeth?

The extraction is performed under local anesthesia and the post-operative course with bearable discomfort for a few days (bearable pain and slight swelling). Sometimes, due to the position of the tooth, it is necessary to separate the roots and remove bone to be able to extract it. Approximately one week after surgery, the stitches are removed.

Recommendations for the post-operative

The dentist will give the patient post-operative instructions that will recommend:

Do not spit during the first 12 hours.
Do not take hard or hot types of food.
Avoid smoking the first 2-3 days.
Do not brush the extraction area for a week.
Sleep with two pillows the first few days after the extraction.
Avoid practicing sports that involve physical exertion for the first 2-3 days after the intervention.

For more information, consult your trusted dentist or contact the Nart Dental Clinic team.


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    Dr. José Nart Espinet

    Dr. José Nart Espinet is a specialist in surgery and implants. He has a degree in surgery and medicine from the University of Barcelona (1980) with a specialization in stomatology. Likewise, he is also a member of the Spanish Society of Stomatology (SEPES), of the European Society of Dental Aesthetics (ESED), of the Spanish Society of Dental Aesthetics (AEED) and the Catalan Society of Odonto-stomatology. (SCOE)


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