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Wisdom tooth

Wisdom tooth
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Wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth at the end of your upper and lower gums.

Wisdom teeth usually grow through your gums in your late teens or early twenties. Sometimes wisdom teeth can cause pain as they grow through your gums. Sometimes there is not enough room in your mouth for them, so they come through at an angle rather than growing straight. They can also be difficult to clean, which in some cases may cause problems.

Looking after yourself

If your wisdom teeth are coming through (erupting), there are things you can do to look after the area, and to reduce pain and the chance of an infection.

  • It is very important to brush the area thoroughly with a small-headed toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, even if this is uncomfortable. This helps get rid of food and plaque.
  • Warm salt water may help reduce pain. Mix one teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water, then take a mouthful of the liquid and hold it in your mouth so it covers your affected tooth for two minutes, then spit it out. Do not swallow it. Repeat four times a day.
  • Speak to your pharmacist about over the counter medicines, such as pain-relieving gels.
  • If you think you are developing an infection, you should make an appointment to see your dentist.
  • If you are in pain, get advice on pain relief medicines you can take.

Last reviewed: August 2015

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