Wisdom Tooth Removal
Human beings develop a total of 32 adult teeth. 28 of these break through the gum line by the time you’re 13 years old. However, the last four usually only grow through the gums between your late teens and your early 20s! These are your third molars – your wisdom teeth.Sometimes, however, these teeth don’t grow through as they should. This can cause problems within your mouth and require wisdom tooth removal.
Most people have four wisdom teeth, one in each corner of the mouth. They were initially designed to help our ancestors chew foliage and break down plants’ cell walls. Modern diets, however, have made them unnecessary.
By the time your wisdom teeth emerge, your other 28 adult teeth are usually in place. As a result, there is not always enough space in the mouth for your wisdom teeth to grow through properly. They may come through at an angle or get stuck and only partially emerge. When your dentist refers to an ‘impacted’ wisdom tooth, this is what he or she is describing.
Frequently Asked Question
What are wisdom teeth?
Your wisdom teeth are the back teeth (rear molars) that are usually last to come through; in your late teens or twenties. For some people they can cause problems because there is not enough space for them in your mouth.
When there isn’t enough room, these large back teeth may push through on odd angles which causes significant discomfort as well as disrupt the position of your other teeth.
Where the teeth fit, they can be responsible for other oral health issues such as tooth decay and gum infections due to their difficult to reach position when brushing and cleaning your teeth.
It is common for these teeth to be removed to protect “your bite” (the neat interconnecting of your upper and lower teeth when you close your jaw or chew).
Why do I need my Wisdom Teeth removed?
A wisdom tooth removal isn’t actually necessary if these teeth aren’t causing you any problems. Some impacted teeth sit happily where they are and cause no trouble at all.
Others, however, can cause severe pain, swelling, infection, or even decay. What’s more, if certain wisdom teeth aren’t removed in time or left untreated, they could damage nearby teeth and cause cysts, infections, or tooth overcrowding.
Overcrowding can even disturb the alignment of your other healthy teeth and make your mouth look crooked.
For this reason, if you’re experiencing any discomfort or pain in your teeth or jaw, visit a friendly dentist at Hamilton Family Dental to discuss a wisdom tooth removal as soon as possible.
What does Wisdom Teeth removal involve?
Your dentist will start by examining your teeth. He or she may take dental x-rays to identify any additional risks before planning the best possible course of treatment.
Your oral surgeon may likely have to cut the gum open to remove the impacted or damaged tooth. But don’t worry. Wisdom teeth removal is a very common procedure. You’ll usually be sedated in some form to minimise any pain or discomfort you might experience.
After your surgery, your dentist or oral surgeon will give you instructions for post-operative care. Depending on your wisdom tooth removal, you may also be prescribed painkillers.
You can do a few things, too, to help reduce the risk of infections and speed up the healing process. Be sure to get adequate rest after your operation.
Avoid eating any hard or crunchy food, hot drinks, and alcohol. Follow your dentist’s instructions!
The skilled team of dentists here at Hamilton Family Dental know just what to do to make your wisdom teeth removal a breeze.
How does my dentist tell if my wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Your dentist will take X-rays to check and see how your wisdom teeth are developing within your jaw. From what the see on the x-ray film, they’ll be able to tell whether there is room for the wisdom teeth and that they are growing straight and healthy.
Some people are fortunate that their wisdom teeth do not cause problems and do not need to be taken out. They may need to make a small incision (cut) in the gum to help the teeth come through correctly in some situations.
In the case where your wisdom teeth need to be taken out, you may be given the choice to have the extraction performed under a local or general anaesthetic.
Local anaesthetic involves being awake and sitting in your dental surgeons chair as they perform the extraction. Individuals who are anxious about injections and dental visits may find this a little overwhelming and opt for general anaesthetic. Treatments performed under general anaesthetic, typically involve a hospital visit where an Anaesthetist will administer drugs to put you to sleep while the dental surgeon operates to take out your wisdom teeth.
Your wisdom teeth are large, so once they’ve been removed the hole where the tooth was may need to be stitched to help the gum to heal.
It is normal for your jaw and gum to be sore, swollen and bleed for a few days after your wisdom teeth have been extracted. Your oral surgeon will advise you on pain relief and how to care for your mouth and gums while you’re healing.