What are wisdom teeth?
Your wisdom teeth are the back teeth (rear molars) that are usually last to come through; in your late teens or twenties. For some people they can cause problems because there is not enough space for them in your mouth.
When there isn’t enough room, these large back teeth may push through on odd angles which causes significant discomfort as well as disrupt the position of your other teeth.
Where the teeth fit, they can be responsible for other oral health issues such as tooth decay and gum infections due to their difficult to reach position when brushing and cleaning your teeth.
It is common for these teeth to be removed to protect “your bite” (the neat interconnecting of your upper and lower teeth when you close your jaw or chew).
How does my dentist tell if I need my wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Your dentist will take X-rays to check and see how your wisdom teeth are developing within your jaw. From what the see on the x-ray film, they’ll be able to tell whether there is room for the wisdom teeth and that they are growing straight and healthy.
Some people are fortunate that their wisdom teeth do not cause problems and do not need to be taken out. They may need to make a small incision (cut) in the gum to help the teeth come through correctly in some situations.
In the case where your wisdom teeth need to be taken out, you may be given the choice to have the extraction performed under a local or general anaesthetic.
Local anaesthetic involves being awake and sitting in your dental surgeons chair as they perform the extraction. Individuals who are anxious about injections and dental visits may find this a little overwhelming and opt for general anaesthetic. Treatments performed under general anaesthetic, typically involve a hospital visit where an Anaesthetist will administer drugs to put you to sleep while the dental surgeon operates to take out your wisdom teeth.
Your wisdom teeth are large, so once they’ve been removed the hole where the tooth was may need to be stitched to help the gum to heal.
It is normal for your jaw and gum to be sore, swollen and bleed for a few days after your wisdom teeth have been extracted. Your oral surgeon will advise you on pain relief and how to care for your mouth and gums while you’re healing.