Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to develop in the mouth, usually in your late teens or early 20s. Many people grow their wisdom teeth without problems, but if there's not enough room in your mouth or the tooth gets stuck inside the gum, this can cause serious problems.
If you're suffering from wisdom tooth pain, your dentist can advise you whether they need to be removed or offer advice about how to ease your symptoms.
When do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Wisdom teeth can cause problems if:
- they get stuck in the gum (impacted), which may lead to infection
- there isn't enough space in your mouth for more teeth (crowding)
- they don't come through all the way (partly erupt) or come through too far (over erupt)
- they come through at an angle, which can put pressure on other teeth
- they are difficult to brush and floss, increasing your risk of dental problems
If your dentist thinks any of these situations is present or likely, they will usually recommend extraction.
How are wisdom teeth removed?
Your dentist will explain what wisdom teeth removal involves so you know what to expect. All treatments are performed under local anaesthetic to prevent pain and discomfort.
In some cases, pulling a wisdom tooth is no more difficult than a normal extraction. The tooth is held and rocked back and forth until it loosens and can be removed.
However, if the wisdom tooth is impacted in the gum, or is difficult to access, oral surgery may be required. This involves making an incision in the gum and may require breaking up the tooth or removing part of the bone surrounding it. Generally, lower wisdom teeth can be more difficult to remove than upper wisdom teeth.
The procedure can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. Your dentist will advise you to take it easy and to only eat soft food for 24 hours or longer to help your mouth fully recover.
Do wisdom teeth always have to be removed?
Wisdom tooth pain may indicate a problem with the tooth, but not always. If the tooth is developing normally, your dentist may advise:
- taking over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
- placing a cold compress or ice pack over the outside of your cheek
- rinsing your mouth with warm salt water or a mouthwash prescribed by your dentist
- taking antibiotics prescribed by your dentist to fight an infection
If a wisdom tooth is only slightly impacted or partly erupted, your dentist may recommend removing part of the gum rather than extracting the tooth.
Some people grow their wisdom teeth without pain or other noticeable symptoms. Pain may also be caused by other problems unrelated to wisdom teeth, so it's important to visit your dentist for a comprehensive check-up.
Wisdom tooth removal in Brisbane CBD
If your wisdom teeth are giving you trouble or you want to find out more, contact our friendly team at Swish Dental in Brisbane CBD. We have clinics in Everton Park and Mitchelton.
Healthdirect. Wisdom teeth [Online] 2017 [Accessed April 2019] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/wisdom-teeth
Healthdirect. Removing wisdom teeth [Online] 2018 [Accessed April 2019] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/surgery/removing-wisdom-teeth