Some people’s wisdom teeth push through without any issue, so nothing needs to be done. However, many people today have problems with their wisdom teeth because, over thousands of years, our jawbones have gradually become smaller. Consequently, our wisdom teeth have difficulty finding the space to push through our already crowded jaws.
Often, due to tooth crowding, wisdom teeth push through at an angle, into the gum or neighbouring tooth. This is known as impaction. Impaction can be dangerous as it can cause pain, tooth decay and gum infections. And other times, the tooth can only partially erupt. Food particles and bacteria can get stuck in this area which can be difficult or impossible to clean, creating the perfect environment for bacteria to spread and infections to form.
You may wonder if your wisdom teeth are going to cause troubles further ahead. Often, the dentist will x-ray a teenager to see how their teeth are positioned and if their wisdom teeth will have room. If it appears that your teeth are too crowded and your wisdom teeth will create problems, your dentist will likely suggest wisdom teeth removal.
If it is clear that you must remove your wisdom teeth, the consensus is ‘the sooner, the better’. This is because the younger you are, the softer the tooth root. If you wait until later, the roots are fully formed and tougher, making the surgical process more difficult and possibly more painful.
Your dentist will recommend wisdom teeth removal if you experience any of the following:
If your wisdom teeth are infected, a dentist will likely suggest removal as soon as possible. Even if the infection cleared, it’s likely to recur. In the interim, you may need to do the following:
Your wisdom teeth should only be removed after a thorough oral examination and x-ray deeming the surgery necessary. If required, surgery is performed either in-chair at the dental clinic (using local anaesthetic and possibly twilight sedation) or a hospital (under twilight anaesthesia or a general anaesthetic).
After your surgery, your gums will be stitched to help you to heal. Your gums and jaw will be sore, swollen and possibly bleed for a few days after surgery.
Your dentist will thoroughly run through your required after-care after wisdom teeth surgery. However, here are a few basic guidelines of what’s involved:
All surgical procedures carry risk. Speak to your dentist for more information. The following complications may occur after wisdom teeth removal surgery: