If you start to feel pain or discomfort in your mouth during your late teens or early 20s, there’s every possibility your wisdom teeth are either growing through or have grown through. Unfortunately, very rarely does this final set of molars make their entrance known quietly. While there’s every possibility your wisdom teeth are healthy and properly aligned, there’s an even higher chance of them being misaligned and troublesome for your other teeth. As a result, it might be time to call upon the services of a dentist like Candlewood Dental Centre.
Knowing you may have to see a dentist about your wisdom teeth can be frightening for some people. Friends and family might have shared their horror stories with you, or you might just be afraid of the dentist. To alleviate your concerns and to give you as much information as you need, we’ve answered some frequently asked questions.
How do I know my wisdom teeth are causing problems?
Aside from general discomfort, wisdom teeth can make themselves known in a number of ways. Unlike your other teeth, they don’t just turn up and sit quietly. They usually arrive with a bit of uproar and tend to cause discontent with your other teeth. Wisdom teeth can be described as a bad neighbour, and they make themselves known in the following ways:
- Jaw stiffness
- Irritation and rubbing caused by the new tooth rubbing your mouth, cheeks, or tongue
- Gum infection
- Teeth crowding
- Tooth decay
My wisdom teeth are fine, do I have to get them removed?
There has been some debate amongst dentists about whether to remove healthy wisdom teeth or not. If your wisdom teeth are growing correctly, aren’t causing any irritation or infection, and aren’t overcrowding your mouth, there is no reason to extract them. Instead, your dentist may provide you with advice on how to look after them to ensure they continue to behave.
If your wisdom teeth haven’t been giving their marching orders, it’s crucial that you maintain excellent oral hygiene. Clean and floss them thoroughly, and attend dental check-ups twice-yearly to ensure they still don’t need to be extracted. The key is to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, and if this can be achieved, there’s no reason why your wisdom teeth can’t remain where they are.
I am getting my wisdom teeth extracted – what’s the process?
First of all, it’s important not to listen to the “horror” stories your friends and families may have told you. Each person’s wisdom tooth extraction process is different, and in most cases, they can be extracted like any other molar. The method can also differ, depending on how deeply impacted your teeth are.
Your dentist will then use an anaesthetic to numb the area, ensuring you can’t feel a thing during the extraction, before widening the tooth’s socket using a dental tool known as an elevator. In essence, your tooth is being moved back and forward to ensure it’s loose enough; then it’s extracted. It can be over in as little as a few minutes.
In some cases, wisdom teeth can prove a little more troublesome. In cases such as these, your dentist will cut into your gum, remove a part of your jaw bone, and will extract the tooth. If needed, they will stitch the area back up. This process can take around 20 minutes.
Removing wisdom teeth is not always a necessity, but when it is, remember you’re in the capable hands of an expert dentist. Wisdom teeth extraction is one of the most common procedures in Australia, with over half of Australians undergoing it. If you believe your wisdom teeth need to be removed, consult your local dentist sooner rather than later. Failure to take action can result in more pain and a potentially more difficult extraction process.