Wisdom teeth are usually best removed soon after they are seen to be growing inappropriately. They can increase the risk of gum infection, as well as crowding and misalignment of teeth.
If wisdom teeth come through the gums and are well aligned, then they can be treated like any other tooth. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have enough room on our jaws for wisdom teeth and they often grow out at an inappropriate angle. This creates traps for food and bacteria to grow and cause havoc. This can change from mild discomfort around the gums to significant swelling and pain.
The worst outcomes, however, occur when there is no pain and the bacteria slowly cause decay on both the wisdom tooth AND on the healthy, well aligned tooth next door. Because this happens silently, by the time these are detected often both teeth need to be extracted. This is why it is so important to have a full mouth X-ray (an OPG) around the time wisdom teeth start coming through and when they usually cause issues (ages 17-35). This way, the wisdom teeth can be managed appropriately without having to lose any other teeth unnecessarily.
If your wisdom teeth need to be removed, you may have them out in the dentist’s chair, where you’ll receive local anaesthetics to numb the jaws and gum, or in a hospital, where you will be under general anaesthetic and not awake for the procedure.
Your dentist will discuss the advantages, disadvantages, and costs for all these options. We will give you a quote and the item codes that will be used so you can discuss these with your health insurance and know you’re out of pocket cost prior to your procedure when appropriate.
If your wisdom teeth are concerning you or causing pain or discomfort, please speak with your dentist to determine the best treatment option.
As with other invasive or surgical procedure, this procedure can carry risk. Your dentist will discuss these in detail with you and make sure you are fully informed prior to treatment.
If your dentist believes that your particular situation is particularly risky, they will refer you on to someone more senior with more experience or an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. If you have any concerns, your dentist will try and explain things as thoroughly as possible and we encourage you to seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified oral and maxillofacial surgeon if you wish.