What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third molars, the last teeth that erupt in the mouth.
Usually between the ages of 17-25, an age that we mature in life and "gain wisdom". Females can expect slightly younger eruption,even at about 16 years old.
What are the problems with Implacted Wisdom Teeth?
There are many theories attempting to explain why wisdom teeth get impacted (‘stuck’ by adjacent structures like jaw bone and second molar). Whatever the reason, the outcome is lack of space for these wisdom teeth to grow, hence they get impacted. They are difficult to clean, act as food trap and will lead to the following problems:
These are the most important reasons for their removal.
- The gums overlying impacted wisdom teeth get infected, and become swollen. This is a painful condition called ‘pericoronitis’.
- They cause decay on the second molar tooth in front.
Are there any instances where Wisdom Teeth do not need removal?
Wisdom teeth need not be removed if:
- you are born without them (congenitally missing);
- the teeth are fully erupted and in occlusal function (biting with each other) and completely buried in the jaw bone without communication at all with the oral cavity. However, cysts or tumours can develop from buried teeth and if so, that will be an indication for removal.
How will my Wisdom Teeth be taken out?
Your dentist will do a thorough clinical and radiographic examination to determine if your wisdom tooth requires a surgery to remove.
Before the surgery, your dentist will discuss the procedure with you and inform you what to expect.
The surgery can be performed under local anaesthesia alone, sometimes with sedation.
After the surgery, the area will be stitched together, and antibiotics and painkillers will be prescribed.
Typically, a one week follow up appointment will be scheduled and the stitches will be removed then. You will also be taught how to cleanse the wound/socket till it heals completely in order to prevent food and debris contamination.