Wisdom Teeth Removal

Most people will have four wisdom teeth. Sometimes they erupt into the mouth like normal teeth, and sometimes they will impact (grow in the wrong direction).

Wisdom teeth that remain buried in the bone and under the gum may not cause any problems. But, when they start to push through the gum, bacteria in the mouth can infect the gum around the wisdom tooth causing pain and inflammation. This is known as pericoronitis and can lead to difficulties in opening the jaw and swallowing.

If there is insufficient space for wisdom teeth to erupt normally into the mouth, removal of wisdom teeth is recommended.

Why Do I Need to Remove my Wisdom Teeth?

• Infection is one of the most common reasons for removal of Wisdom Teeth. Infection, particularly from lower wisdom teeth, can rapidly spread to the muscles in your head and neck and can even become life threatening.

• Partially erupted wisdom teeth can be difficult to clean and readily trap food, resulting in a cavity in that tooth. It can sometimes be impossible to place an adequate, long lasting filling, and removal is preferable.

• Your orthodontist may recommend removal of your wisdom teeth as you are unlikely to be able to fit them into your mouth due to crowding of teeth.

• An impacted wisdom tooth, (one that has tipped over and wedged into the molar in front) can cause the tooth in front to decay. This may lead to irreversible damage and subsequent loss of both molar teeth.

• Sometimes, though rare, a cyst may develop in the bone around a wisdom tooth, causing damage to the bone and neighbouring teeth.

How to Treat Wisdom Tooth Pain and Infection:

If you are experiencing any pain from your wisdom teeth, we hold emergency appointments daily at our Brisbane Dental Practice, especially if you are getting facial swelling. We will thoroughly assess your wisdom teeth problem and provide treatment best suited to you:

• Taking antibiotics early is important to prevent the spread of infection.  Antibiotics are very strong and specific for this particular infection and it is essential you finish the whole course, even if you are no longer in pain. However, it must be remembered that even though the infection has now cleared, it will quickly return if the wisdom tooth is left untreated.

• A mild anti-inflammatory such as Nurofen (unless unable to take due to medical reasons) will be most effective in reducing any swelling and pain.

• Rinsing 3 to 4 times per day with salt water or Savacol will help control local infection.

• It can be helpful that any infection is resolved prior to removal of wisdom teeth. This will allow the teeth to be removed more comfortably and with less post-operative complications.  However in most situations immediate removal of wisdom teeth is indicated.

What do I need to know about Removal of Wisdom Teeth?

After your initial examination, we order a special type of X-ray called an OPG to determine the position of the wisdom teeth and the extent of any damage they may have caused.

Some wisdom teeth can be easily removed while you are awake in the dental chair and with very little risk. And for those a little nervous, we have the benefit of nitrous oxide sedation or happy gas at our practice to help you relax.

Other wisdom tooth extractions can be very complicated, high risk procedures, which are best performed by an Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon under general anaesthesia in hospital.

At Leichhardt Street Dental Practice, we work with a wonderful team of Oral Surgeons based in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

What are the Risks of Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Risks will be discussed in detail by our Dentist at your consultation at our Brisbane Dental Clinic in Spring hill. 

General Risks:

•Infection

•Bleeding

•Pain

Specific Risks:

•Sometimes top wisdom teeth roots extend into the sinus.  Once the tooth is removed a hole can form between the sinus and the mouth.  As long as it heals, there is no problem.  The complication arises if it does not heal, additional surgical closure will be required.  If this occurs specific instructions will be given to help with healing.

•Sometimes lower wisdom teeth roots interfere with the lower nerves of the Jaw.  These nerves supply the feeling to the lips and teeth.  If this is damaged you can lose feeling in the lip.  If we think there is a high risk of this happening we sometimes refer to a specialist oral surgeon.

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