What are wisdom teeth and reasons for removal?

What are wisdom teeth and reasons for removal
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What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the back teeth in your mouth (the third molar teeth). They usually appear (erupt) in their late teens or early twenties (17-25 years). They can be seen with an X-ray. Some wisdom teeth do not fully emerge and become lodged (or impacted) on neighbouring teeth or bone. This frequently results in a gum flap covering your teeth. Others become very long (over-erupt). Visit us to learn more: mywisdomtoothdentist.com.au

Why Take Them Out?

The majority of people get their wisdom teeth taken out for one of the following reasons:

  1. Gum infection or significant tooth decay regularly.
  2. If a wisdom tooth protrudes too far, it might cause harm to the cheek or gums.
  3. You may need surgery to reposition your jaw forwards or backwards.
  4. Your tooth may be in a position that makes cleaning it difficult.
  5. Other teeth may need to be moved backwards, so an orthodontist may need to make space.
  6. You could have a cyst near or around your teeth, or you could have other jaw issues.
  7. Your tooth could be on the verge of fracturing your jaw.
  8. Lower wisdom teeth that have been impacted.

How are wisdom teeth removed? (local vs general anaesthetic)

Wisdom tooth removal options depend on the severity of the situation and the number of wisdom teeth to be extracted.
It takes about ten minutes to an hour to complete.
Under a local anaesthetic, the extraction is performed (your dentist does this at the clinic). But General anaesthesia is used during surgery (performed by a specialist oral surgeon at the hospital).

Extraction under local anaesthetic:


  • At the dental clinic, this method is used for essential extractions. It’s appropriate when the tooth has emerged from the gums without complications.
  • While the patient is awake, a local anaesthetic is administered to numb the area, though they may prefer to be mildly sedated if this is an option. In the same way, typical tooth extraction is done, forceps are used to loosen and remove the tooth.
  • When a patient needs all four wisdom teeth removed, it’s typical to remove the upper and lower molars on the same side in a single session and return for the other side at a later date.

Wisdom teeth surgery using general anaesthetic:

  • Dental surgery occurs at the hospital under general anaesthetic, which means the patient isn’t conscious during the procedure. This is a day procedure, so it’s essential to organise for someone to drive you home.
  • In difficult cases where the tooth is lodged behind the gums (impacted) or there are other hurdles, this is the only choice (such as the roots getting in the way).
  • Cutting the gum to eliminate all tooth fragments and traces of infection is followed by cleaning the region and stitching the wound shut.
  • If surgery is needed, your dentist will discuss the best options with you and refer you to an oral surgeon who specialises in this procedure.

Patients who wish to pull all four teeth at the same time to get it over with may contemplate surgery, even if their case isn’t complicated.

Wisdom teeth that are causing problems should be extracted as soon as possible

Wisdom teeth rarely produce pain until they begin to cause damage, so it’s important to find out if they’re likely to cause problems sooner rather than later.
When you’re a teenager, the roots of your wisdom teeth are still growing, making it easier to extract them. It may be more difficult if you wait until later in life when the roots are fully grown.

Are there any alternatives to wisdom teeth extraction?

Simple pain relievers, such as paracetamol, can help reduce the pain caused by wisdom teeth in the short term. When the area around the wisdom tooth is infected, antibiotics and rinsing with hot, salty water or chlorhexidine mouthwash can assist.

If wisdom teeth have partially erupted, removing the gum over it (operculectomy) may be possible. It may be possible to remove only the crown of your tooth if the root of your tooth is close to the nerve that supplies feeling to your lower lip (coronectomy).

Healing process after your wisdom teeth extraction

After you’ve had your wisdom teeth removed, you’ll need to take care of yourself. Your dental health specialist will discuss how to care for your mouth. Some broad recommendations are as follows:

  • If pain-killer medicine is required, take it (and on advice from your oral health professional).
  • In your mouth, hold warm, salty water. This should be done after a meal and no sooner than 24 hours after surgery.
  • For the next three days, eat soft, easy-to-chew foods.
  • No smoking for 48 hours after surgery.
  • Avoid consuming alcoholic beverages.

Should you get your wisdom teeth removed before braces or Invisalign?

Yes, in many circumstances, this is preferable. We normally advise persons with impacted wisdom teeth to postpone orthodontic treatment until after the teeth have been extracted, in case the position of these teeth creates further misalignment issues.

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