Wisdom teeth are the third molars that usually appear between the ages of 17 and 25. For some people, wisdom teeth emerge from their gums in their rightful position without any complications. However, for many of us they may become problematic over several years as they grow and develop in each corner of our mouths. Commonly, wisdom teeth affect other teeth as they develop, becoming what dentists call ‘impacted’ which basically means that they are coming in sideways to the rest of your teeth or mouth. Impacted wisdom teeth can result in sudden and severe pain. Consequently, early detection of potential problems before they occur is desirable.
At Gentle Dental, we have many years of experience in early detection and treatment of impacted wisdom teeth. Please book an appointment with us where we can review your dental history, take X-rays and perform an oral examination to determine the condition of your wisdom teeth. If a problem exists, we may recommend surgery to remove them to avoid complications down the track.
Wisdom Teeth Removal
Wisdom teeth are removed for several reasons:
• They have already become impacted
• They could potentially become problematic if not extracted
• Tooth decay – Fully grown wisdom teeth are more susceptible to decay caused by food particles easily trapped in the jaw area behind the wisdom teeth
• Gum infection – May result in bad breath, pain and swelling, and if untreated, can spread. Often, the overlying gum can have a serious infection
• Pressure pain – Partially protruding wisdom teeth may cause considerable pain
• Orthodontic reasons – Crowding of the remaining teeth because of a lack of space in the mouth may compromise earlier orthodontic treatments
• Cyst formation – In a small number of patients, cysts and tumours occur around impacted wisdom teeth. Risks of cysts or tumours forming increase with age and the longer an impaction exists.
Benefits of Wisdom Teeth Removal
Research generally recommends early removal of impacted wisdom teeth between the ages of 14 and 22 years whether or not they are causing problems. For younger people, surgery is technically easier and the patient recovers more quickly. A minor operation in our early years can become more difficult in patients over 40 because the older you get, the denser your jaw bone becomes and the more difficult the tooth removal is. Also, the risk of complications increases with age and the healing process is slower. Taking action before problems arise will save you on the negative effects of impacted wisdom teeth later on.
Removal of wisdom teeth involves a minor surgical operation and can sometimes be undertaken in the dental surgery room rather than a specialised unit or hospital. Uncomplicated wisdom tooth surgery may be carried out under local anaesthesia. But in many cases, surgery is undertaken under full general anaesthetic. At Gentle Dental, we will discuss in detail any recommended procedure so that you will fully understand what is involved and you are comfortable with the procedure before it is done. We will arrange for all of your needs including hospital care if it is preferred by you or recommended by us.
Post Operative Healing
Following the operation, your body responds by sending blood to nourish the tooth socket. The bone surrounding the socket can begin to heal and eventually fills the socket completely. It is common for you to experience some pain and swelling for the first few days and you will be provided with strong painkillers to get you through. We will give you some instructions to follow to ensure your mouth heals quickly and you avoid any unnecessary complications. A follow up examination may be scheduled to make sure the socket is healing properly and the rest of your mouth is returning to a normal healthy state.
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