Wisdom teeth usually erupt between the ages of 16 to 25 years old. They are the last of the large grinding teeth at the back of your mouth, known as molars. Most adults have four wisdom teeth and others may never develop any.
When there is insufficient space for them to erupt fully, these teeth can cause many problems that lead to pain and infection.
At Hawthorn East Dental, we utilize full mouth OPG and, if necessary, 3D CT imaging to carefully plan wisdom teeth removal. Dr. David Cao has over 12 years of experience in wisdom surgery with special accreditation at Bellbird Private Hospital as dental surgeon in field of surgical dentistry. He employs the safest surgical methods to minimize risks, and post-op swelling and discomfort.
The Wisdom Ache
Many problems can arise from a wisdom tooth and generally it’s due to a mismatch between the size of the teeth and size of the jaw.
When there is a lack of space, crowding of front teeth and cheek ulceration around the wisdom tooth can occur. However, more commonly, the lack of space results in an impacted wisdom tooth.
Impaction is when the tooth is not fully erupted into the mouth because of blockage from other teeth or bone. Consequences of impaction are pain and infection of surrounding gum and tooth decay of adjacent tooth.
Pericoronitis is gum infection surrounding the wisdom tooth and is characterized by constant dull throbbing pain lasting 1-2 weeks that comes and goes every few months. It can be sore to chew on that side and difficult to swallow food and drinks. This gum infection can be temporarily treated with antibiotics or local deep cleaning. Long term, you will end up with recurrent symptoms and ultimately need wisdom tooth removal.
Another big problem with impacted tooth is decay of adjacent tooth. This happens when the wisdom meets the tooth in front on an angle, thereby creating a food trap between them. Food trap leads to decay deep down near the roots, left untreated, can lead to extraction of both teeth.
When there’s recurrent infection around the wisdom tooth, a cyst may develop. A cyst may not be symptomatic at all but can leave irreversible destructive effects on the surrounding jawbone.
When there are food particles or plaque collected near the wisdom tooth, it’s usually the most challenging spot to keep clean. Often, this results in bad breath and taste.
Consultation with OPG or CBCT scans to discuss whether there’s need to remove the wisdom tooth.
If deemed necessary, risk assessment and informed consent will be discussed.
Removal of wisdom teeth can be done in the chair under local anaesthetic or in the hospital under general anaesthesia. If needed, we can arrange extraction under GA.
Preparation and briefing of post-op instructions
Post-op instructions given in writing with spare gauze