Wisdom tooth (or third molar) extraction is one of Australia’s most common surgical procedures. The wisdom teeth are the last teeth to emerge, growing at the rear of your gums. The average person has four wisdom teeth.

Wisdom teeth usually emerge from the gums in late adolescence or early adulthood. The other 28 adult teeth are generally in place by this time, so there isn’t always enough room in the mouth for the wisdom teeth to fully develop. Wisdom teeth can occasionally emerge at an angle or become caught and only partially emerge due to a lack of room. Impacted wisdom teeth are those that grow through in this manner.

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Why are wisdom teeth removed?

If your wisdom teeth are impacted but not causing any problems, they usually don’t need to be removed. This is due to the fact that there is no demonstrated benefit, and it carries the risk of complications.

Wisdom teeth that have gotten impacted or have not fully broken through the gum surface might cause dental issues. Food and germs can become caught around the wisdom teeth’s edges, causing plaque to build up, which can lead to:

  1. Gum disease tooth decay (also called gingivitis or periodontal disease)
  2. Cellulitis cysts and benign growths – very rarely, a wisdom tooth that hasn’t cut through the gum develops a cyst pericoronitis – when plaque causes an infection of the soft tissue that surrounds
  3. Pericoronitis is an inflammation and infection of the gum tissue around the wisdom teeth, the third and final set of molars that generally erupt in your late teens or early twenties. The lower wisdom teeth are the most commonly affected.
  4. When other treatments have failed, wisdom teeth extraction is usually indicated.

How are wisdom teeth removed?

Your dentist will open up the gum tissue over the wisdom teeth and remove any bone covering it to remove it. They’ll detach the tissue that connects the tooth to the bone before removing it. To make tooth removal easier, the dentist may chop the tooth into smaller pieces.

To numb the area around the tooth, you’ll normally be given a local anaesthetic injection. Just before the tooth is extracted, you’ll feel some pressure as your dentist or oral surgeon works to enlarge the tooth socket by rotating the tooth back and forth.

Sometimes a tiny cut in the gum is required, and the tooth may need to be chopped into smaller pieces before being extracted. The removal of wisdom teeth can take anywhere from a few minutes to 20 minutes, or even more in extreme cases.

You may experience swelling and discomfort both within and outside your mouth after your wisdom teeth have been removed. Mild bruising can also be seen on occasion. The first three days are usually the worst, although it can persist for up to two weeks.

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Possible complications

The removal of wisdom teeth carries the same dangers as any other operation. Infection or delayed healing are two of these risks, both of which are increased if you smoke throughout your rehabilitation.

Dry socket, which causes a dull, aching sensation in your gums or jaw, as well as a terrible odour or taste from the empty tooth socket, is another possible issue. If you don’t follow your dentist’s aftercare advice, you’re more likely to get a dry socket.

Nerve injury is also a possibility, which can cause tingling or numbness in your tongue, lower lip, chin, teeth, and gums. This usually is just transient, but it can be permanent in exceptional circumstances.

How Much Does Wisdom Teeth Removal Cost?

The cost of removing your wisdom teeth is determined by the severity and complexity of your case. Before giving you a cost estimate, your friendly Woonona dentist will examine your mouth and take some x-rays.

In-chair wisdom teeth extraction is the most cost-effective method. The prices will be higher if you require general anaesthesia. Extraction of wisdom teeth can cost up to $500 per tooth. The cost of extracting all four wisdom teeth at once is roughly $2,322.

If you need a general anaesthetic, your costs will likely rise to $1,500 and $3,000 per tooth.

Because most wisdom tooth extractions may be done in the chair, most patients do not require a general anaesthetic. To help them relax, some patients choose sedation. Please call or visit us and let us know when you make your appointment; call us at (08) 9296 9970.

What happens if you wait too long to get wisdom teeth out?

They can also become embedded in the gum tissue, causing inflammation. Wisdom teeth can adversely disrupt teeth alignment and cause moderate face pain and toothaches if a patient waits too long to pull them.

How long is wisdom teeth recovery?

The procedure to remove your wisdom tooth or teeth can take up to two weeks to recuperate from. You may have swollen mouth and cheeks at this time – this will be worse for the first few days but will progressively improve; gently placing a cold cloth against your face helps minimise swelling.

Is removal of wisdom teeth covered by health insurance?

If wisdom teeth are impacted or causing health concerns, your health insurance plan may pay the surgery cost if it’s deemed medically necessary. Dental insurance programmes may cover some or all of the costs of such operations.

 

Reference:

Kandasamy, S., Rinchuse, D. and Rinchuse, D. (2009), The wisdom behind third molar extractions. Australian Dental Journal, 54: 284-292. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1834-7819.2009.01152.x

J Dixon, H.G Welch, Priority setting: lessons from Oregon, The Lancet, Volume 337, Issue 8746, 1991, Pages 891-894, ISSN 0140-6736, https://doi.org/10.1016/0140-6736(91)90213-9.

Biswas, G., Gupta, P., & Das, D. (2010). Wisdom teeth – A major problem in young generation, study on the basis of types and associated complications. Journal of College of Medical Sciences-Nepal, 6(3), 24–28. https://doi.org/10.3126/jcmsn.v6i3.4071