Wisdom Teeth Surgery
Wisdom teeth or 3rd molars, are the last teeth to erupt into the mouth, usually in a person’s late teens or early twenties.
Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that most people get in their late teens or early twenties.
Whilst it is possible for them to come through into the mouth and become useful, healthy teeth, for most individuals they become impacted and need to be removed.
Wisdom Teeth become "impacted" when they are are unable to fully erupt into the mouth. This is usually because there is not enough space in the jaws to accommodate all of the adult teeth.
Wisdom Teeth growing on an angle are also prevented from erupting into the mouth. This is most often seen where Wisdom Teeth are leaning towards the teeth in front, although it is possible for Wisdom Teeth to lean in any direction.
An impacted tooth can stay painless for a long time, and you may not even realise it is there. Wisdom Teeth assessment is an important part of any dental check-up, since impacted Wisdom Teeth do not always produce symptoms.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth can cause the following symptoms...
- Pain & discomfort
- Swollen & bleeding gums at the back of the mouth
- Bad breath or an unpleasant taste
- Headache or jaw tenderness
- Stiffness of the neck
- Swollen lymph glands
We recommend seeking a professional opinion if you develop symptoms consistent with Wisdom Teeth pain. This gives you the opportunity to have your treatment options discussed, so you can make the choice that is best for you.
Here are some examples
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause the destruction of the molar teeth in front of them. The tight space around an impacted wisdom tooth is almost impossible to keep free of bacteria and food debris.
What you think is pain from you wisdom teeth, can often be the irreversible decay and infection of the molar teeth in front, requiring these teeth to be removed as well.
The presence of impacted 3rd molars in the lower jaw significantly increases the risk of jaw fracture. This is likely due to the 3rd molars occupying an area of the jaw that would normally be filled with dense bone.
The decreased volume of bone in the angle of the jaw reduces its structural integrity, making it more prone to fracture.
The roots holding our teeth in our jaws are the last parts of the wisdom teeth to form. Removing impacted wisdom teeth before the roots develop make it a less complicated procedure with less risks.
Impacted wisdom teeth that aren't removed in late teens or early twenties will continue to develop roots, which often grow down and around the nerve running through the lower jaw.
Removing wisdom teeth at this stage has a higher potential complication rate due to the close proximity of the roots to the nerve, and definitely warrants treatment by a maxillofacial specialist.
‘Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.’
Wisdom Teeth | Q & A
Wisdom teeth are the last to develop, and often try to erupt into jaws which have long since stopped growing. Wisdom teeth have no place or function in most people, and if they are unable to fully erupt into a person's mouth they become 'impacted'.
'Impacted' wisdom teeth cause infection, tooth decay, or gum disease. These may cause breakdown of the adult molar teeth in front of it, and make the person's jaw prone to fracture from contact sport injuries.
It is not a good idea to wait until impacted wisdom teeth start causing problems. Pain and infection at this stage are usually felt as a result of decay and breakdown of the molars in front of the wisdom teeth, and can result in their loss.
Preventative removal of wisdom teeth minimises the risk of these issues occurring in people prone to developing them. Taking out wisdom teeth at an early stage is quick, simple and has little accompanying discomfort after removal.
Removal of wisdom teeth is about more than the extraction of teeth. It requires managing a person medically, treating potential complications, and minimising the risk of infection.
Reconstructing the jaw where the wisdom teeth stood is most critical. This is necessary to preserve the molar teeth positioned in front, and to restoring strength of the jaw to protect against fracture.
Removal of 3rd molars is best performed by a specialist oral & maxillofacial surgeon. who can remove these efficiently and with minimal damage to surrounding areas, which is key to minimising potential pain or swelling afterwards.
After care of our patients is paramount. We provide all of our patients with scripts for antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, antibacterial rinses, and anaesthetic mouth salts.
Our patients appreciate the minimal discomfort and recovery time they experience with us, a testament to the quality of care our practice provides in the management of wisdom teeth removal.
Wisdom teeth can be removed either in the dental clinic under local anaesthetic, or in a private hospital setting under general anaesthetic. This is determined by the complexity of the situation and the preference of the patient.
Impacted 3rd molars are often only partially erupted, or can be completely buried in the jaw. This requires lifting the gum over the wisdom tooth, and removing a small amount of bone around it.
The wisdom tooth can then be removed delicately from the jaw. Doing this with care to the surrounding gum and nerve tissues minimises or avoids any potential swelling and pain.
Specialist management of wisdom teeth removal ensures that it is tailored to your individual condition and needs, and most importantly it avoids the potential for complications.
Leaving impacted wisdom teeth to fully develop usually worsens the degree of impaction. This makes the surgery to remove them more difficult and increases the risk of pain and swelling afterwards.
3rd molars are often difficult to clean and are prone to gum disease and decay. This increases the risk of permanent damage to the neighboring molar teeth, and may result in the loss of these when the wisdom teeth are taken out.
Using antibiotics to treat wisdom tooth infection can temporarily remove pain, but it doesn't remove the impacted wisdom teeth causing the infection.
Repeat treatment of wisdom tooth infection with antibiotics alone ignores the progressive damage to the surrounding teeth, as well as the significant risk of facial swelling and treatment in hospital.
Wisdom teeth generally erupt into the mouth between the ages of 17 and 21, and the roots holding teeth in the jawbone don't finish forming until a few years after this.
The late teens or early twenties is usually the best time to remove wisdom teeth that are deemed likely to cause a problem.
Removing 3rd molars without fully formed roots is easier as there is less holding them in the jawbone. They have not had the chance to grow around nerves which minimises the risk of damaging them.
The areas where wisdom teeth are removed are also likely to experience bone regeneration without the need for extra procedures such as bone grafting.
Overall, removing 3rd molars in the late teens or early twenties is generally more simple, with minimal risk of complications, and little in the way of recovery time.
Wisdom teeth surgery is never completely without pain or swelling after treatment, however it can be minimised by the procedure being made quick, efficient and gentle.
We provide all of our patients with scripts for antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, antibacterial rinses, and anaesthetic mouth salts.
Treatment by our oral & maxillofacial specialist ensures that you will have gentle and expert treatment, and the best in terms of care and comfort over the following days.