Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to grow in the mouth, but sometimes they can be more trouble than they're worth.
If a wisdom tooth is stuck inside your gum or pushing against your other teeth, your dentist will recommend an extraction. They might also recommend extracting wisdom teeth to avoid problems later.
Do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Not always. Most people's wisdom teeth emerge with no problems except for normal teething pain, and these teeth can be useful to supplement the other molars at the back of the mouth for chewing and grinding food.
Your dentist might recommend removing a wisdom tooth if:
- the tooth is trapped (impacted) inside your gum, which can be painful and increase the risk of infections
- there isn't enough space in your mouth for another tooth, which can cause the surrounding teeth to move and become crooked
- the tooth has come through at the wrong angle, which could make it harder to brush and floss
- the tooth is too short (partly erupted) or too long (over erupted)
- the tooth is badly damaged or decayed
- you're planning to get pregnant, as hormonal changes increase the risk of wisdom tooth problems
Wisdom tooth pain doesn't always mean the tooth has to be removed. If the pain is likely to be temporary, your dentist may instead recommend over-the-counter painkillers, antibiotics or home remedies to help you manage your symptoms.
How are wisdom teeth removed?
Your dentist will explain what wisdom tooth removal involves so you can decide if it's the right choice for you. Depending on the position of the tooth and the symptoms you're experiencing, removing a wisdom tooth may be as straightforward as a standard extraction or more complex, and can take between 10 minutes and 90 minutes per tooth.
A more complex procedure may involve making incisions in the gum and removing a small amount of bone along with the tooth. Wisdom teeth in the lower jaw are often more difficult to remove than those in the upper jaw. Local anaesthetic will be used to prevent pain during the treatment, and you can talk to your dentist if you need another type of sedation to help you relax.
What are the risks of wisdom tooth removal?
Risks are minor when you choose a qualified and experienced dentist for your wisdom tooth removal, but they'll make sure you understand the possible side effects and complications so you can make an informed decision about your treatment.
The most common complication of removing a wisdom tooth is a dry socket. This can happen if the blood clot over the removal site is disturbed, exposing your mouth to the environment. This can cause pain and put you at risk of infection, so it needs to be treated by a dentist as soon as possible.
It's normal to experience some pain and swelling for a few days after a wisdom tooth is removed. This can be managed with over-the-counter medication and home remedies. If pain continues, or you have other unexpected symptoms like bleeding or a fever, make an emergency appointment with your dentist or nearest emergency room.
Find out more about wisdom teeth removal on the Gold Coast
Are your wisdom teeth bothering you, or are you think of having them removed to avoid problems later? Contact our team at Robina Town Dental to arrange a consultation with a Gold Coast dentist.
Call 07 5575 9100 or visit our dental clinic in Robina Town Shopping Centre.
Healthdirect. Removing wisdom teeth [Online] 2018 [Accessed September 2019] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/surgery/removing-wisdom-teeth