Wisdom Teeth

Frequently Asked Questions (Click on Questions to See Answers)

A - People have four wisdom teeth out of thirty two teeth in total. They are also known as third molars, the mandibular and maxillary, and can appear between the ages of seventeen to twenty-five. If someone has more than four wisdom teeth, which is possible, they are termed supernumerary teeth. Having less than four is called hypodontia. Some research suggests, and this is debated, that wisdom teeth served more of a purpose centuries ago for chewing and grinding certain foods, and that with the passing of time and change in diet, the human jaw now better facilitates twenty eight teeth.

A - Wisdom teeth are removed when they are “impacted”, affecting other teeth and the jaw. How the wisdom teeth are contained by the jaw bone is called bony impaction. Soft tissue impaction occurs when the wisdom teeth emerge from the jaw bone but do not pierce through the gum layer. Or if the tooth erupts partially it is called vertical impaction.

If the tooth bursts through the gum and is covered again with soft tissue, this wisdom tooth protrusion is called operculum. When wisdom teeth grow into the roots of the second molar, appearing at a ninety degree angle, then this is called horizontal impaction. If the tooth is angled backwards, the impact is distoangular. The most common impaction is mesioangular when the wisdom tooth grows out at a frontwards angle.

Extraction of wisdom teeth is considered when one of the above protractions occurs or if the teeth pose the possibility of in-growth and infection. If food or bacteria builds under or around the surface of the tooth causing inflammation, the result can be tooth decay or gum disease affecting overall wellbeing. The misalignment caused if wisdom teeth are left, may irritate the mouth causing pain. Overcrowding of teeth (malocclusion) can result in jaw and facial distortion. If there is enough space in the mouth and large enough jaw bone to facilitate all four wisdom teeth, then extraction usually is not necessary.

A - Our resident dentist will examine your teeth and advise you on the condition of your wisdom teeth as they develop. If impaction is identified, our dentist will X-ray your wisdom teeth to see the growth-angle of the roots and the mouth room available for growth. Should extraction be needed, then an appointment will be booked for surgery. Usually food should not be consumed the evening before surgery and on the day of the extraction, a local anaesthetic is administered so that you feel no pain. Our resident dentist will discuss sedation options with you that will help you relax through the extraction procedure.

Once your mouth feels numb, our dentist will slice the gum to reach the root in the jaw and will surgically remove it to prevent further growth. Statures are used to close the wound. These are either dissolvable in seven to ten days or if non-dissolvable are removed by the dentist after a week. The whole procedure takes around 30 minutes. Usually, you rest at our practice until the anaesthetic wears off a bit and then you can be taken home. We prescribe antibiotics to aid with healing and painkillers to reduce discomfort.

A - During the procedure, patients are given a local-anaesthetic, and choice of sedation therapy for relaxation, so that the extraction is done pain-free. After surgery, our resident dentist will also provide a leaflet on how to take care of your mouth and a prescription for antibiotics and painkillers.

A – One of our fully-qualified and experienced resident dentists performs the wisdom tooth extraction procedure.

A – For about twenty-four hours, the mouth should be left to heal without any vigorous gargling. Rinsing the mouth gently with warm salt water is advised, especially after meals, until the blood clot heals where the tooth was extracted. Initially, alcohol and smoking should be avoided because this can impact the healing process. Soft foods should be consumed to prevent damage or inflammation to the extraction site. Teeth can be brushed as recommended, but away from the healing wound for a few days.

Bleeding may occur, and if it does, place a gauze over the wound with pressure for twenty minutes until the bleeding stops. If it persists, contact your dentist or doctor immediately. Some facial swelling and stiffness in the jaw is expected for a few days.

A – Yes, our resident dentist will give you a follow-up appointment for check-up and, if necessary, removal of non-dissolvable sutures.

A – There may be some swelling to the face and stiffness to the jaw, but this soon heals within a week and you look your bright normal self again.

A – There are alternatives, such as prescribed antibiotics to help reduce the discomfort from symptoms. Often the symptoms re-occur which means antibiotics have to be repetitively prescribed which can be unhealthy. If wisdom teeth place you at risk of infection, repetitive inflammation, overcrowded or misaligned teeth, it is recommended to have the wisdom teeth removed.

A- As with any surgery, there is a risk of infection, numbness and pain from dry socket, however, bearing in mind that these can be treated and that the risks of not having wisdom teeth extracted can be more serious.

Dry socket occurs only if the blood clot that forms in the hole where your tooth was extracted bursts causing infection and nerve irritation. This can happen if you rinse your mouth too vigorously or eat hard food within 24-48 hours after tooth extraction. Using a warm salt water to gently rinse is advisable to aid blood flow for healing. If dry socket occurs, contact our resident dentist immediately for treatment and to reduce pain.

A- During your first consultation and examination, our resident dentist will discuss cost and payment options with you to enable you to make the choice that is right for you.