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When it should be done

NHS ChoicesMedical Reference

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Wisdom teeth develop during your late teens, or early twenties, usually between 18-24 years of age. However, they can sometimes develop much later.

NICE recommendations

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that impacted wisdom teeth that are free from disease should not be operated on. There are two reasons for this:

  • firstly, there is no reliable research-based evidence to suggest that it benefits patients to have healthy wisdom teeth removed, and
  • secondly, surgery itself involves risks (see the  complications section), and patients should not be exposed to these risks unnecessarily.

Instead, your wisdom teeth should be monitored during your routine dental check-ups. It is not possible to predict which impacted wisdom teeth (if any) may start to cause you problems in the future. However, the angle that the tooth has come through at, and the degree to which it is stuck among your other teeth, may provide an indication. Your dentist will decide if and when surgery is necessary.

Depending on how healthy your teeth and gums are, your dentist will also advise you about how often you need to have a dental check-up. If you have a problem between check-ups, you should contact your dental surgery to arrange an earlier appointment. In case of an emergency outside normal working hours, contact your surgery on its usual number and you will be informed about how to access emergency dental care.

If you are not registered with a NHS dentist, you can call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 for advice about what to do. Alternatively, you can also enter your postcode to find and choose your nearest dental surgeries.



Pain is an unpleasant physical or emotional feeling that your body produces as a warning sign that it has been damaged.


Inflammation is the body's response to infection, irritation or injury, which causes redness, swelling, pain and sometimes a feeling of heat in the affected area.
Medical Review: September 15, 2009

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