Wisdom teeth removal is one of the most common surgical procedures carried out across Australia. The wisdom teeth are the last teeth to come through and grow at the back of the gums. Most people have 4 wisdom teeth, 2 on the top and 2 at the bottom, but it’s not uncommon to have fewer wisdom teeth or even none at all.
Wisdom teeth tend to come through in late adolescence or the early 20s, and by that time usually, all of the other adult teeth are in place. This means that often, there isn’t room for them to grow properly.
When there is insufficient space, wisdom teeth can come through at an angle or get stuck, and only partially emerge. When this occurs, they’re referred to as impacted wisdom teeth.
Why are wisdom teeth removed?
Impacted wisdom teeth can be extremely painful, may cause damage to nearby teeth, and could result in other dental problems such as crowding and impaction into the gums or neighbouring teeth. The problem with impacted wisdom teeth is that they can’t be cleaned properly which means they can start to decay and cause gum disease. Although it’s less common, cysts and tumours can also form around impacted teeth.
Generally speaking, wisdom teeth removal is necessary for teeth that are causing pain or other dental problems, although some dentists recommend removing impacted wisdom teeth that aren’t causing any symptoms, to prevent problems in the future.
Wisdom teeth that come through upright and straight usually don’t need to be removed but because they’re so far back in your mouth, they can be difficult to clean. As a result, it’s important to brush and floss them well and visit your dentist for regular check-ups.
How do you know when there’s a problem with your wisdom teeth?
Often the first sign of any problems with your wisdom teeth is when you feel pain in your upper or lower jaw. You may experience a feeling of pressure in the back of the mouth and often the gums around the erupting wisdom tooth become inflamed, swollen and sensitive.
If you’re experiencing tooth pain then it’s always best to visit your dentist as soon as you can rather than waiting for a regular dental check.
What’s involved in the wisdom tooth removal procedure?
The first step in wisdom teeth removal is a consultation with your dentist. He or she will check your teeth and perform x-rays to determine the extent of your problem, examine your medical and dental history, and answer any questions or concerns you may have.
An x-ray gives your dentist a closer picture of your wisdom teeth to see if they appear to be erupting normally or have impacted. If surgery is required, your dentist will make recommendations.
The majority of wisdom teeth extractions can be carried out chairside using local anaesthesia, but more complex cases may be referred to an oral or maxillofacial surgeon who performs wisdom teeth extractions in a hospital setting under general anaesthetic.
What to expect during the surgery
Once you’re settled comfortably into the dentist’s chair you’ll be given local anaesthesia to numb the area around the affected tooth. If you’re feeling particularly anxious about the extraction, then you may be given sedation anaesthesia through an intravenous line (IV) in your arm. This keeps you conscious throughout the procedure and you’ll probably only have a vague recollection of the procedure.
If the tooth hasn’t erupted, then a small incision will be made into the gum so you’re your dentist can access it. This isn’t usually necessary if the tooth has partially or fully erupted.
A special tool is used to widen the tooth socket and then dental forceps are used to gently rock the tooth backwards and forwards. You may feel a little pressure and movement at this stage. However, the total time to extract your tooth should only be around 20 minutes.
Some wisdom teeth extractions involve the tooth being cut into pieces to remove it, and in these cases, the procedure may take a little longer.
A clean pad of gauze is then placed over the extraction site and you’ll be asked to bite down firmly on it to help a blood clot to form.
Your dentist will give you a few post-surgery tips such as eating softer foods, easing any pain with over-the-counter painkillers, and keeping the surgery site clean.
What is the cost of wisdom teeth removal?
As with most surgeries, the more complex your case, the more you can expect to pay for wisdom teeth removal. Undergoing wisdom teeth extraction chairside with a local anaesthetic will be cheaper than having your wisdom teeth removed by an oral surgeon in a hospital setting.
Finder has put together a handy breakdown of wisdom teeth removal costs but it is recommended you visit your dentist for a more accurate price based on your circumstances.
One important thing to be aware of is that a dentist can set their own prices. Although the Australian Dental Association does create guidelines, wisdom teeth removal fees are not regulated, so it may pay you to shop around.
Another factor affecting the cost of wisdom teeth extraction is location. Costs vary from one state to another and it’s usually cheaper to get wisdom teeth removed in major cities than in rural areas.
Finally, if you have private health insurance, then the level of hospital and/or extras cover can also impact on your treatment costs. Furthermore, if your dentist is a specialist provider for your health fund, it may be the fund that sets the price that your dentist is allowed to charge for wisdom teeth removal.
Do you have any more questions regarding wisdom teeth removal or are you looking for an experienced dentist to carry out wisdom teeth removal in Sandstone Point? If so, then why not schedule an appointment with Sandstone Point Dental. You can call on (07) 5429 5628.