Adults can have up to 32 teeth. The wisdom teeth are the last to appear, right at the back of the mouth. They usually appear when you are between 17 and 25 years old, although sometimes they appear many years later.
People often have jaws that are too small for all 32 teeth to fit â 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.
If there is not enough room, the wisdom tooth may try to come through, but will get stuck against the tooth in front of it. The wisdom tooth will be at an angle, and will be described as âimpactedâ.
If part of the wisdom tooth has appeared through the gum and part of it is still covered, the gum may become sore and perhaps swollen. This is called âpericoronitisâ. Bacteria and bits of food can collect under the gum edge, and it will be difficult to clean the area properly.
This is a temporary problem that can be dealt with by using mouthwashes, special cleaning methods and possibly antibiotics. If the problem keeps coming back, it may be better to have the tooth removed or the gum tissue around it.