Wisdom teeth generally erupt between the ages of 18-21. Most will erupt into function just like any other tooth, but in others they may cause problems. Some people do not have wisdom teeth and others have wisdom teeth but they remain buried in the jaw bones for life.
Wisdom teeth may cause pain and infection for a number of reasons;
-The underlying cause is usually a lack of space available for the tooth to erupt into.
-The resulting impacted tooth may be difficult to clean allowing food and plaque to become impacted. This can lead to a local or spreading infection in the area (pericoronitis).
-This impacted tooth may also cause severe dental decay to the wisdom tooth or the adjacent molar tooth.
-There are other less common reasons for wisdom tooth problems such as cysts.
How are wisdom teeth removed?
An impacted wisdom tooth may be partially covered by jaw bone, gum or stuck against the adjacent tooth. Because of this, wisdom tooth removal is a minor surgical procedure. Depending on the degree of impaction, this procedure can be performed comfortably with regular local anaesthetic or coupled with intravenous sedation. IV sedation is particularly useful where multiple teeth are removed at the same sitting or in very nervous patients.
What is the recovery period?
This depends on the degree of impaction, the number of teeth and your own particular healing! A full assessment of this can be made at your consultation. All patients receive a prescription and comprehensive written post-operative instructions following a surgical procedure. Sick certificates can be issued on request.
Will I have nerve damage?
Altered sensation to the lip/chin & tongue is a rare but recognised complication of lower wisdom tooth removal. This is seen in a fraction of a percent of patients. Each individual’s risk can only be assessed following a consultation with an oral surgeon. By having your wisdom teeth removed by an experienced specialist oral surgeon you can minimise (but not eliminate) this risk.
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(*Patients with an impacted wisdom tooth, causing pain and swelling.)