Do I need my wisdom teeth out?

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Do I need my wisdom teeth out?

Concerns around wisdom teeth are common amongst our teenage and young adult patients.  Wisdom teeth, or third molars, usually emerge into the mouth when people are in their late teens to mid-twenties.  Do they always need to be removed?

In short, not necessarily.  Some of us are very lucky, and the wisdom teeth have plenty of room and settle in to function like the other molars.  Others however have insufficient room for them to fit in.  In such cases, the wisdom teeth can have come through and become stuck or impacted.  This can result in difficulty cleaning the area, which can lead to a cavity in the wisdom tooth or the neighboring tooth.  It can also result in food impaction and pain and swelling from the gum around the tooth.  In rare cases, cysts can form around impacted wisdom teeth.

The decision to remove or retain wisdom teeth is based on careful clinical and radiographic evaluation.  As a general rule, we now try to give wisdom teeth every chance to emerge well, providing they aren’t causing any trouble.  However, if the patient is experiencing trouble, or if we can see from our evaluation that the wisdom teeth may cause trouble, it can be wise to have them removed.  Often it is best to plan the removal of wisdom teeth, which can be done under either local anesthesia or general anaesthesia in a hospital setting, at a convenient time to the patient.  It is for this reason that we advise teenagers and young adults to attend regularly so that we can formulate a plan before the wisdom teeth cause a dental emergency.

Our surgical dentist Ryan, is our resident expert on wisdom teeth.  If you have any concerns about wisdom teeth, please call the practice on 8278 6858 to organise a consultation time with him.

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