Wisdom teeth surgery
Wisdom teeth (3rd molars) are the back most teeth in the mouth that cut through the gum at around the age of 17-25 years old. There are frequent occasions when these teeth cannot fit, or grow at strange angles. This can result in pain, gum infection, damage to adjacent teeth and jaw issues.
Wisdom tooth removal is a minor oral surgery which can help reduce pain, decay, infection and damage to the other teeth.
Extractions and Wisdom teeth surgery
Wisdom teeth are also known as third molars. They normally emerge through the gum between the ages of 17 to 23.
They can be problematic for many people as the jawbone often does not have enough ‘space’ to allow them to come through the gum sufficiently to be functional or to be cleaned.
This will result in frequent gum infections and increase the risk of decay to the wisdom teeth themselves and the other teeth adjacent to them.
Why do wisdom teeth hurt?
Wisdom teeth most commonly hurt because they erupt partially through the gum and result in a condition called “pericoronitis” or an infection of the gum around the wisdom tooth. This condition is amazingly painful in some cases, and can be managed with pain relief, time and
antibiotics. Pericoronitis can recur, and can be quite frequent. This usually precipitates the scheduling of wisdom tooth removal surgery.
Why do we have wisdom teeth?
There is some literature that suggests that with evolutionary advancement, wisdom teeth have become redundant. We do not need to use our molars to chew raw foods as much as our ancestors.
Dr Farrington is of the opinion that whatever causes the redundancy of wisdom teeth, they should only be removed if they have the potential for immediate or future pain or damage to adjacent teeth.
They should not be removed to prevent ‘crowding’ of the front teeth. This happens in the presence or absence of wisdom teeth.
They should be removed if they are causing frequent pericoronitis, are resulting in decay or resorption of the next teeth along, or are affecting the chewing function of our patients.
What are the risks of removing the wisdom teeth?
The lower wisdom teeth can often be close to dental nerves and arteries. Removal should be carefully planned and executed to prevent complications such as damage to the nerve which may result in a temporary or (in very rare cases) permanent numbness or altered sensation in the lower lip or tongue.
The upper wisdom teeth are famously much easier to remove than the lower ones, but they are often very close to the ‘maxillary sinus”, a hollow space in the upper jaw important for respiration. In rare cases, the sinus floor is damaged and will need to be surgically repaired.
All other complications and risks are assessed by our trained dentists. They are communicated to our patients especially if x rays show an increased risk of anything specific.
Removal of wisdom teeth by less experienced clinicians can increase the incidence of complications, both minor and major.