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What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth or third molars, are the last teeth to develop and appear in your mouth. They come in between the ages of 17 and 25, a time of life that has been called the “Age of Wisdom.” Wisdom teeth may not need to be extracted if they grow in completely and are functional, painless, cavity-free, disease-free and in a hygienic environment with healthy gum tissue. They do, however, require regular, professional cleaning, annual check-ups and periodic X-rays to monitor for any changes.
Why take them out?
When a tooth doesn’t fully grow in, it’s “impacted”–usually unable to break through the gums because there isn’t enough room. 90% of people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth.
An impacted wisdom tooth can damage neighbouring teeth or become infected. Because it’s in an area that’s hard to clean, it can also invite bacteria that lead to gum disease. Oral bacteria can also travel through your bloodstream and lead to infections and illnesses that affect your heart, kidneys and other organs. In some cases, a cyst or tumour can form around the base of the impacted tooth, which can lead to more serious problems as it hollows out the jaw and damages surrounding nerves, teeth and other parts of your mouth and face.
You’ll meet with your dentist to talk about the process. At this appointment, your dentist will discuss with you:
– if your wisdom teeth need to be extracted
– the difficulty of your extraction
– the expected time of recovery
– the expected cost of the surgery
Your surgery should take 45 minutes. Surgical time may vary due to difficulty.
Everyone responds differently to anaesthesia. If you had a local anaesthetic and feel alert, you might be able to drive home to begin your recovery. You might even be able to go back to work or do your normal activities. Most people have little to no pain after surgery. You’ll likely have swelling and mild discomfort for 3 or so days. Your mouth may need a few weeks to completely heal. Follow your dentist instructions for a quicker recovery.
Disclaimer: Information on this page is adapted from the Australian Dental Association Inc.
Medical and Detnal conditions are complex, you should not rely on information provided here for self-diagnosis and treatment/prescription