When is wisdom teeth removal necessary?
Wisdom teeth – the third molars in the back of your mouth – can be a common cause of tooth problems. In many cases, wisdom teeth can cause problems when there isn’t enough room for the teeth to grow into the mouth properly. Wisdom teeth removal can help relieve pain from impaction.
Most people have four wisdom teeth, two in the top row of teeth and two in the bottom – one in each corner of the mouth.
Typically wisdom teeth grow between the ages of 17-25. By the time wisdom teeth develop, the mouth’s 28 other teeth have already long grown in. Hence the name ‘wisdom’ teeth, and why they can cause problems.
When should you have wisdom teeth removed?
When wisdom teeth are impacted, it can cause problems in the rest of your mouth. Impaction is caused when wisdom teeth grow at various angles in the jaw.
Wisdom teeth can even grow in horizontally. Problems can develop from wisdom teeth that:
- Never erupt through the gum and stay completely hidden. When wisdom teeth are trapped (impacted), it can result in infection or cause a cyst that can damage other teeth roots or bone support.
- Emerge partially through the gum. Partially emerged wisdom teeth can be hard to clean. It is easy for food to become trapped between the back of the wisdom tooth and the mouth. Even flossing in this area is hard. Bacteria can then form and cause gum disease or an infection.
- Crowd out other teeth. If there isn’t enough room for wisdom teeth to come through, they can crowd or damage other teeth nearby and cause problems to your bite.
Does everyone need their wisdom teeth removed?
No. Some people will have all four wisdom teeth grow in and not experience any problems.
It is only necessary to have wisdom teeth removed if they are causing pain, infections, gum disease, decay, or damage to your other teeth.
It is important to see your dentist regularly, as even if your wisdom teeth aren’t causing you pain, you may not notice problems such as decay.
Going for regular check-ups will allow your dentist to catch any problems early. You may not need your wisdom teeth removed if they are:
- Healthy and free of decay
- Grown in entirely and haven’t impacted other teeth
- Not affecting your bite or opposing teeth
- Able to be cleaned easily
Will wisdom teeth removal straighten teeth?
Wisdom tooth removal can cause a slight shift in your teeth as they settle back into your mouth. Removal may also help your bite to feel more natural. This is because impacted teeth can put a lot of pressure on other teeth, and extraction helps to relieve your teeth from stress.
If your teeth are very uneven or crooked, it is unlikely they will straighten after wisdom tooth extraction. If you want straighter teeth, you may need to talk to your doctor about braces.
How does wisdom teeth removal work?
Wisdom teeth extraction will vary depending on how your tooth or teeth are impacted. During the procedure, the dentist will make an incision in the gum tissue to expose the tooth and bone. The dentist will then remove any bone blocking access to the tooth’s root.
Sometimes the tooth will need to be divided into sections for it to be removed. Once done, the dentist removes the pieces of the tooth and cleans the wound of any debris.
The wound is sometimes closed using stitches or gauze to slow the bleeding.
Are you put to sleep when wisdom teeth are removed?
The routine removal of a single wisdom tooth can be completed within an hour at your dentist’s office and will use a local anesthetic.
Any oral surgery clinic may take up to 90 minutes to extract a tooth, especially if the tooth removal is less routine. Some dentists are qualified to use a sedative along with local anesthetic during removal.
If your surgery requires several teeth and takes place at a hospital, it could take between 2-3 hours. Patients will usually have a general anesthetic before their operation.
Does wisdom teeth removal hurt?
You will likely experience some pain and discomfort from wisdom tooth removal. It is common to experience swelling and bruising. Here are some ways to make your recovery more comfortable:
- Do not rinse your mouth out on the day of your surgery as this will prohibit healing.
- Use an ice pack as much as possible during the first 48 hours. This helps reduce swelling.
- Take time off work to recover and avoid strenuous activity.
- The days following the surgery, rinse the mouth out three times a day with saltwater.
- Drink plenty of water, avoid caffeine, carbonated drinks and alcohol.
- Avoid drinking with a straw. Sucking can dislodge the blood clot that is forming.
How much does wisdom teeth removal cost?
Dental care is free for teenagers in New Zealand until their 18th birthday. At Gentle Dental, the price of wisdom teeth removal varies based on the number of teeth removed and the type of impaction. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort with your wisdom teeth, we recommend booking a general appointment, and we will assess your wisdom teeth to see if they need to be removed.
During this time, we can give you a price estimation and guide you through the whole process, including how best to manage your recovery. Book your appointment here.