Wisdom teeth removal

3/9/2021

By Dr. Rama Chockalingam

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last permanent teeth to appear (erupt) in the mouth. These teeth usually appear between the ages of 18 and 25. Some people never develop wisdom teeth and for others, the wisdom teeth erupt normally and cause no problems. Wisdom teeth that don’t have room to grow are referred to as ‘impacted’ and can lead to pain, infection or other dental problems. Due to these reasons, wisdom teeth are often recommended for extraction.

Why?

Early human beings survived on a diet of tough fibrous food that needed substantial chewing power. With the advent of processed foods, we no longer need that same chewing power and our jaws have evolved to be progressively smaller. As this occurs, there is less space in our mouths to accommodate three sets of molars so the last set have a tendency to get stuck (otherwise known as impacted). Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to a series of different complications including:

  • Pain
  • Food and debris trapped behind the wisdom tooth
  • Infection or gum disease (periodontal disease)
  • Tooth decay in a partially erupted wisdom tooth
  • Damage to a nearby tooth or surrounding bone
  • Development of a fluid-filled sac (cyst) around the wisdom tooth
  • Complications with orthodontic treatments to straighten other teeth

If a dentist thinks such complications are likely in the future, they will often recommend extraction even if the teeth are currently not causing symptoms.

When?

Although wisdom teeth can be extracted at almost any time after adolescence, they are often better removed earlier rather than later as recovery tends to be quicker in younger patients. Additionally, these teeth are often less developed, making them easier to remove. In general, when you first start to feel the wisdom teeth erupting through the gums (often between 18-25 years of age), it’s a good time to have a chat with one of the dentists at Fine Smiles Dental to discuss whether treatment is appropriate.

How?

The first step carried out on the day of surgery is the gentle administration of local anaesthetic to ensure that the entire procedure is painless. Once the jaws are sufficiently anaesthetised, the procedure of extraction can begin. Depending on the position and shape of the wisdom teeth, the procedure can vary but often involves:

  • An incision in the gums to expose the tooth
  • Removal of bone that blocks access to the tooth
  • Dividing the tooth into sections if it's easier to remove in pieces
  • Removal of the tooth
  • Cleaning the site of any debris from the tooth or bone
  • Stitiching the wound closed to promote healing, though this isn't always necessary

Following the procedure, the dentist will go through post-operative instructions and provide a prescription for appropriate pain relief.

​Cost?

In most cases, the cost of extracting a single wisdom tooth can range from $250-400 (before health insurance rebate) depending on how complex the procedure will be. One of the Fine Smiles dentists will provide you a treatment plan with costs once they have examined your wisdom teeth.

Hopefully I’ve managed to impart some wisdom regarding the removal of wisdom teeth! Feel free to give the lovely team at Fine Smiles Dental a call if you have any further questions about wisdom teeth removal at our clinic.

​Have more questions?

To find out if you have wisdom teeth or more information, please contact our friendly team to organise a consult with one of our dentists. Feel free to visit our Wisdom teeth page for more information.


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