Wisdom teeth often do not come through at the correct angle and there can be insufficient space for them to come through, even when they are in correct alignment. The wisdom teeth can then get stuck, which is called impaction. This can lead to trapping of plaque and food in the gum around the wisdom tooth or between the wisdom tooth and the tooth beside it. This can lead to infection of the wisdom tooth, which is called periocoronitis. It can be exacerbated by the opposing wisdom tooth biting on the gum or cheek.
Do I need to get my wisdom teeth out?
Most people end up getting their wisdom teeth removed, as they often cause problems. This can include infection, tooth decay, gum disease, biting pain etc. However, not everyone needs their wisdom teeth removed. Extraction is only warranted if they are causing a problem, or if there is a high risk they will cause future problems. Preventive removal of the wisdom teeth is no longer recommended for everyone. Remember, some dental disease is painless, so even if you don’t get problems from the wisdom tooth, they should be assessed by a dentist. Some people keep their wisdom teeth for their whole life.
I have an infection of my wisdom tooth now. Do I need surgery straight away?
For milder infections, if this is the first time it happens, or in an emergency, treatment can sometimes be provided to improve things without removal. For more severe infections, removal is recommended as soon as possible. It may be that you need referral, so you may need temporary treatment for the pain and infection first. This may include antibiotics, mouthrinses, cleaning and dressings. For an emergency dentist visit to assess, treat and take a digital panoramic x-ray, you could expect a cost of up to $200, but it may be more or less depending on your individual case and preferences.
I’ve heard wisdom teeth removal is a big surgery. What should I expect?
There is a huge variation in the level of difficulty for extraction of wisdom teeth. Sometimes they can be straight forward and can be removed easily in the dental chair by your general dentist. Sometimes, it can be more difficult and you might need to be sedated, or go to hospital for general anaesthetic with a specialist oral and maxillofacial surgeon. If you are at risk, we can make a referral for you to see the specialist. You may need a few days to recover afterwards. Some people are fine the very next day. For particularly difficult extraction, healing can take up to two weeks.
What are the risks for removing the wisdom teeth?
Any minor surgery in the mouth will need time to heal. You can get pain, bruising, swelling and bleeding, like with any other extraction. There is always a small risk of damage to nearby structures, such as the sinus, jaw, gums or adjacent teeth, fillings or dental crowns. In particular the lower wisdom teeth can be very close to some nerves. These nerves supply sensation to your lip, tongue, teeth and gums. If they get damaged, there can be change or loss of sensation. Although it is usually temporary, it can be permanent, which is why full assessment of your risk is carried out prior to deciding if you should see a specialist.
My front teeth are moving. Did my wisdom teeth cause this?
Crowding of the lower front teeth is often blamed on the wisdom teeth, but this is not the case. It can often happen at around the same time as the wisdom teeth coming through. Studies show that those that had wisdom teeth out earlier get the same level of crowding. It is thought that the crowding is caused by a range of factors. This can include maturation of the bone and muscle forces from the lips, tongue and cheeks, particularly for those that grind their teeth. If you notice your teeth moving, a retainer, like after orthodontics, can stop them getting worse. Orthodontic treatment, such as Invisalign, is needed to move them back to their original position, if they cause a functional or cosmetic problem.
How much does wisdom teeth removal cost?
There is a huge variation in costs depending on whether you have treatment with a general dentist or a specialist. It will also depend on whether you have treatment in chair or whether sedation with an anesthetist is needed, or hospital stays. Whichever way you need, you should receive a quote prior to treatment. In chair, non surgical extraction of a single tooth with a general dentist costs $185 approximately. This can vary due to case and consultation and x-rays may be needed. A more complex surgery may cost up to $300 per tooth. Should you wish to be sedated, additional costs would apply. The first step to tailoring a costed treatment plan is to book a consultation. If specialist removal with a maxillofacial surgeon is required, we will happily make a referral for you.