Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth don't have wisdom but they pop up right after your second molar. These teeth usually appear in your late teens to early twenties but may fail to erupt (impacted) due to lack of room in the jaw or angle of entry into the mouth. The most common type of impacted wisdom tooth is “mesial”, meaning that the tooth is angled forward toward the front of your mouth.

Your dentist may recommend removing a tooth if it is impacted. If it is not removed, you may develop gum tenderness, swelling, or even severe pain around that area or jaw pain. Impacted wisdom teeth that are partially or fully erupted tend to be quite difficult to clean and are susceptible to tooth decay, recurring infections, and gum disease.

Each patient's situation is entirely unique. Your dentist will usually take a panoramic X-ray to determine the position of your wisdom teeth and if they will need to be removed. If your dentist recommends removal of your wisdom teeth, it is best to have them removed sooner rather than later. 

Wisdom teeth are typically removed in the late teens or early twenties because there is a greater chance that the teeth's roots have not fully formed and the bone surrounding the teeth is less dense making healing time a lot quicker.  These two factors can make your extraction easier, as reducing your recovery time. 

Your dentist first needs to numb the area around the tooth with a local anaesthetic before removal. Your dentist can use additional medication to safely sedate you during the extraction if you are feeling nervous about the treatment. Since the impacted tooth may still be under the gums and embedded in your jaw bone, your dentist will need to remove a portion of the covering bone to extract the tooth from its position. To minimise the amount of bone that is removed with the tooth, your dentist will often “section or divide” your wisdom tooth so that each piece can be removed through a small opening in the bone.

Once your wisdom teeth have been removed your dentist may provide pain relief options. Your healing time will vary depending on the degree of difficulty related to the extraction. Your dentist will let you know what to expect and will provide instructions for a comfortable, efficient healing process.