What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to appear in the mouth, generally making their appearance between the ages of 17 and 25. In most cases, there is inadequate space and these teeth are unable to erupt properly into the mouth. When this happens, the tooth can become impacted (stuck) in a potentially harmful position. If left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth can contribute to infection, damage to other teeth and possibly cysts or tumours.
There are degrees of impaction based on the actual depth and position of the teeth within the jaw:
Soft Tissue Impaction: This is when the upper portion of the tooth has penetrated through the bone, but the gum is covering part or all of the tooth’s crown and has not positioned properly around the tooth. Because it is difficult to keep the area clean, food can become trapped below the gum and cause an infection and/or tooth decay, resulting in pain and swelling.
Partial Bony Impaction: This is when the tooth has partially erupted, but a portion of the crown remains submerged below the gum and surrounding jawbone. Again, because it is difficult to keep the area clean, infection will commonly occur.
Complete Bony Impaction: This is when the tooth is completely encased by jawbone and has not erupted into the mouth at all.
Reasons for wisdom teeth removal
Not all wisdom teeth require removal. We recommend the removal of wisdom teeth when there is an active problem such as crowding of other teeth, pain, swelling, decay or infection, or as a preventative measure to avoid serious problems in the future. Problems include:
Damage to nearby teeth: Second molars (the teeth directly in front of the wisdom teeth) can be adversely affected by impacted wisdom teeth resulting in tooth decay (cavities), periodontal disease (gum disease) and bone loss.
Disease: Although uncommon, cysts and tumours can occur in the areas surrounding impacted wisdom teeth.
Infection: Bacteria and food can become trapped under the gum tissue, resulting in an infection. The infection can cause considerable pain and swelling.
What does the removal of wisdom teeth involve?
Initally, an x-ray will be taken to determine the position of the impacted wisdom tooth. Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure, performed in our office under local anaesthesia with the option of intravenous (IV) sedation by our oral surgeon Dr Simon Briggs. This does not require an overnight stay, and you will be released with instructions and pain relief medication, to help manage any swelling or discomfort.
Wisdom teeth removal under sedation
We also offer the option of sedation for the removal of wisdom teeth. For some, this can provide a more comfortable and anxiety-free experience during the procedure.
65 Parraween Street, Cremorne 2090