What are “wisdom teeth”?
A “Wisdom tooth” refers to a back molar that typically emerges between the ages of 17 to 25 years old (but not always). These teeth are usually located in the four back corners of your mouth.
As over 90% of the population do not have enough room in their jawbone for their wisdom teeth to erupt this may cause the teeth to become impacted.
Why you may need to have your wisdom teeth removed.
Every patient is unique, but in general, wisdom teeth may need to be removed when there is evidence of changes in the mouth such as:
- Bad breath
- Damage to neighboring teeth
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay (if it is not possible or desirable to restore the tooth)
In severe cases wisdom teeth infections may be life threatening.
Treatment of Wisdom Teeth
An impacted wisdom tooth is often encased in jaw bone, tilted or may also be prevented from eruption by an adjacent tooth. Although some wisdom teeth may be easily removed by your Dentist, if the procedure is likely to involve surgery, it is best removed by a Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon.
Can I leave my Wisdom Teeth?
Leaving impacted teeth in your jaw can lead to painful infections, the development of cysts which may form around the impacted tooth. This can lead to damage of the surrounding jawbone, adjacent teeth, and nerves. It is better to remove wisdom teeth before they cause infections.
Does Wisdom Teeth removal happen in a dental chair or Hospital?
If your wisdom teeth needs to be extracted, they may be undertaken with the aid of a local anaesthetic (awake) or whilst you are asleep (in a hospital).
As a general rule, whilst straightforward extractions can be performed whilst awake, it is often more comfortable for wisdom teeth surgery to be performed whilst asleep in hospital. Nowadays, after the procedure is done, you can go home the same day.
Do I need to take any time off work?
It is often necessary to take a few days off work and avoid strenuous exercise for this time.
What to do next?
If you feel you may benefit from wisdom tooth surgery or would just like to know more, arrange an appointment for a consultation. You are encouraged to bring your friends and family along as they may have questions they may wish answered.