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  • Wisdom Teeth
Where

Wisdom Teeth

Your Wisdom Teeth Removal Information Guide

When you hear the word wisdom, it usually demonstrates a unique quality of being wise, a positive quality. Unfortunately, from a dentistry perspective, the term wisdom is the polar opposite. Wisdom teeth do not make you gain wisdom. However, fortunately, neither will you lose any wisdom. There is no distinct relation, if that was ever thought of!

Now that myth has been cleared up, let’s focus on what’s most important…

Teeth erupt in stages from childhood to adulthood. Sometimes, teeth can form as molars, also known as a flat tooth. These molars form at the back of the mouth on both sides and are typically the last to come through. The 3rd molar that forms at the back is what’s known as a wisdom tooth.

Wisdom teeth are usually formed from childhood through to the early adult years. When one has wisdom teeth, it is typically due to the fact that wisdom teeth are attempting to erupt where there is a lack of space within the jaw for it to grow. Not all humans will grow wisdom teeth, but it is a very common occurrence for most. When this happens, to lessen the impact of your neighbouring teeth, wisdom tooth removal (known as wisdom tooth extraction) would be carried out by the dentist.

What Does That Mean For Me?

Wisdom teeth can cause complications if they haven’t erupted properly. These are known as impacted teeth and the direction of its eruption is typically anything other than straight.

If you’ve been told by the dentist that your wisdom teeth need to be removed, don’t panic! Whilst this may sound a bit daunting, it is important that you are prepared.

To help you further understand everything about wisdom teeth, we explain everything from procedure, costings, benefits to oral health and answer your commonly asked questions.

Let’s get started.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

All teeth are ever-present at birth. From a set of 20 baby teeth which eventually fall out to make way for a full set of teeth which caters for 32 separate teeth for adults.

The first wisdom tooth typically forms in children at a low age of 6 years. When growing through adolescence and adulthood, most adults will develop three molars, where the wisdom tooth is known as the third molar.

Wisdom teeth are flat teeth that grow at the back of the jaw and these sometimes do not grow properly. This means the tooth cannot erupt fully, hence typically being known as the ‘flat tooth’.

Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need To Be Removed?

If your wisdom tooth isn’t causing any negative impact to your neighbouring teeth, the dentist wouldn’t recommend them to be removed. Wisdom teeth are typically removed if they “impacted” and cause further complications to your oral health because they haven’t grown properly or haven’t broken through the gum surface.

When this happens, this causes further complications to your oral health. This may lead to:

  • Increase sensitivity at the back of the gums
  • Damage to the teeth when chewing on food
  • Damage to neighbouring teeth
  • Risk of gum disease
  • Periodontal disease from plaque and bacteria build-up
  • Risk of a dental abscess
  • Forming bacterial infections in the throat and tongue

What If My Wisdom Teeth Can Be Kept?

Even if a wisdom tooth causes little complication to your oral health and has erupted enough to stay in its socket, this doesn’t rule out potential complications down the line because the molars may cause problems in the future. Ageing is a natural example of oral health complications forming and the wisdom teeth are the molars in more danger than your neighbouring teeth.

Therefore, the dentist will recommend that the wisdom tooth is regularly monitored as part of general check-up appointments. Be sure to brush and floss around the tooth regularly to keep the tooth away from debris as this can lead to plaque becoming stuck on teeth, meaning bacteria and decay problems.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Wisdom Teeth?

At home, you may experience some of the following signs or symptoms which could indicate that you have a wisdom tooth that needs extracting:

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Swelling in and around the jaw
  • Increased jaw sensitivity
  • Bad breath or unpleasant taste
  • Stiffness when opening and closing the mouth

How The Dentist Identifies A Wisdom Tooth

Where there isn’t enough space for teeth to grow properly at the back of the mouth, the tooth has come out in the wrong position. This meansyou have “impacted” teeth that are trapped.

The dentist will monitor these four areas to monitor signs of wisdom teeth:

  • Its positioning is awkward leading to a greater chance of food to become trapped causing cavities and bacteria.
  • The awkward positioning ensures the brush or floss line does cannot reach the tooth.
  • The tooth has partially come through and bacteria is consistently attacking the tooth causing infection.
  • The tooth has come through awkwardly too close to neighbouring teeth meaning the area is crowded.

What Are The Benefits Of Removing Wisdom Teeth?

Whilst it is possible to experience next to no concerns with wisdom teeth, most do suffer from oral complications. This means performing wisdom tooth extraction treatment. However, there are more benefits in doing this thank you think:

  • Reducing the chances of inflammation and infection. This means less chance of gum disease and other oral health concerns that are severely damaging.
  • Increasing the chances of a straight smile. Crowded teeth have little room to manoeuvre and therefore the positioning of neighbouring teeth can be impacted. Removing the wisdom tooth offers a greater chance of your teeth to become straight. This can be completed through other cosmetic treatments such as Invisalign.
  • It makes it easier to reach the neighbouring teeth when brushing and flossing.
  • Less damage to neighbouring teeth during chewing on foods. This also means a stronger and smoother bite, where your upper and lower teeth can bite down on food naturally and clench together in the right position.
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Wisdom Tooth Extraction Procedure

Wisdom teeth removal is one of the more common procedures carried out in dentistry.

Before the procedure of removing the wisdom tooth is carried out, the dentist prepares you accordingly so that you experience little to no pain when the tooth is removed. Once a thorough examination of your oral health is completed, local anaesthesia is injected inside the gum next to the affected tooth.

The surgeon seeks to widen the gap of the jaw to make it easier to access the wisdom tooth. If the tooth is difficult to remove as a whole as it hasn’t grown through the gum or is partially erupted making it difficult to access the wisdom tooth, the surgeon may cut it into smaller parts.

The surgeon slowly rocks the tooth from side to side using safe forceps equipment. This motion is continued until the wisdom tooth becomes lose before it can be safely pulled from its socket.

The wound is then stitched up once removed. If blood forms, which is a likely occurrence, a gauze pad is given to bite down on to stem as much of the bleeding as possible. This is to help form the blood clot.

The blood clot is essential to the protection of the underlying bone and nerve tissue. This needs time to grow entirely.

Wisdom Tooth Treatment Aftercare Tips

Once treatment is complete, the local anaesthesia will slowly wear off and you’re likely to experience some pain. This pain is natural as part of the healing process.

Follow these healing tips for faster recovery. These tips will also be recommended at the dental practice.

  • Avoid brushing teeth or flossing around the wound so the blood clot can form.
  • Take the recommended painkillers or medication as advised by the dentist.
  • Avoid physical exercise at all costs. Stay rested at least 3 days after the procedure as this also helps the blood clot to form.
  • Place an ice pack on the check against the affected area to reduce any swelling.
  • Eat softer foods that are helpful to the wound such as boiled vegetables and soup.

You may experience severe pain after the procedure. You may even feel groggy when you reach home. Therefore, avoid any activity and stay rested as much as possible.

The Blood Clot Is Dislodged. What Do I Do?

If the blood clot that is formed after treatment has been dislodged, this forms a dry socket, also known as alveolar osteitis. This may also form if the blood clot has failed to develop. You may experience one of these symptoms of dry socket:

  • Continuous throbbing pain after 3 days
  • Pain radiating to your ear, temple or neck
  • Bad breath or unpleasant taste in the mouth
  • The empty socket where the bone is visible

A certain degree of pain is natural. However, if the pain persists it is likely a dry socket has formed.

If this occurs, contact the dentist as soon as possible. The dentist will perform an examination to ensure it is clear of any debris or food particles to avoid infection. The socket needs to be kept clean at all times. Further recovery tips will be explained by the dentist.

Wisdom Teeth Removal – Costings and Factors

The cost of wisdom teeth removal can vary in Australia. Note that dental care is on the more expensive side in Australia. Therefore, making an informed decision is essential. We explain some influential factors that will help you make the best and affordable decision.

  • Whether wisdom teeth removal is covered by your dental insurance
  • Your location within Australia, where metropolitan areas are more expensive
  • The level of eruption – whether it is partially and fully erupted.
  • The type of extraction required

Wisdom Teeth Cost Breakdown

In some cases, determining the cost of an extraction can be straightforward. However, it does depend on the individual and their necessary needs.

  • Basic and simple extractions can cost between $150-$200 per month.
  • Complicated or Surgical extractions can cost between $300-$400 per month.

Below summarizes typical wisdom tooth extraction costs within Australia:

Procedure Breakdown Average Cost
Initial Examination $40 – $60
Simple Wisdom Tooth Removal Cost $225 – $250
Surgical Wisdom Tooth Removal Cost $250 – $400

For more information on wisdom teeth removal and helpful tips, visit our blog page.