Wisdom Teeth... Not So Wise

Wisdom teeth are the third molars right at the back of the mouth and typically don’t erupt until the late teens or early 20s, or even later. By this stage, all your permanent teeth are already in place. Consequently, many people have insufficient room to accommodate their wisdom teeth comfortably. Some wisdom teeth will only partially erupt while others are completely impacted in the jawbone and cannot erupt at all.

What Happens When Wisdom Teeth Are Impacted?

Impacted wisdom teeth can try to push through the gums horizontally or will try to erupt underneath other teeth, potentially damaging these teeth. Also, sometimes wisdom teeth only partially erupt and remain partly covered with gum tissue. Because these teeth are right at the back of the mouth, they are more difficult to clean thoroughly, and a partially erupted wisdom tooth is more likely to become infected or decayed.

What Are the Signs of Wisdom Tooth Problems?

An infected or impacted wisdom tooth can cause pain at the back of the mouth, making it trickier to chew food comfortably. You may notice it is more difficult to open your mouth fully. An impacted wisdom tooth can also cause problems with overcrowding, affecting the alignment of your existing teeth.

How Can I Tell If My Wisdom Teeth Will Cause Problems?

When you regularly visit Dr Smile, we will monitor the position of your wisdom teeth that are yet to erupt. A panoramic x-ray allows us to see if wisdom teeth in your jawbone are growing horizontally and may be impacted or if they are vertical. The x-ray also shows us if your wisdom teeth are too close to other important structures like the sensory nerve of your jaw, and we can tell if they are poorly positioned or are tilted. We will only recommend removing your wisdom teeth if it is clear they cannot erupt properly without causing you problems.

What to Expect When Wisdom Teeth Are Removed?

Our dentists at Dr Smile are highly experienced in removing wisdom teeth, and we take every precaution to ensure this procedure is as smooth and as comfortable as possible. Local anaesthesia will ensure you are pain-free, and we only make a small incision into the gum. Although wisdom teeth are quite large, cutting them into smaller pieces before removing them from the jaw makes them easier to extract comfortably. If your wisdom tooth removal is more complex or you would prefer general anaesthesia, we can refer you to an experienced oral surgeon who we trust to take care of you fully.

For more information, you may reach out to any Dr Smile Family Dentist branch: