Wisdom Teeth Removal

WHAT ARE WISDOM TEETH? Wisdom teeth are the third and final molars on each side of the upper and lower jaws. They are the last teeth to erupt and usually come through when a person is in their late teens or early twenties. WHEN SHOULD MY WISDOM TEETH BE REMOVED? Contrary to popular belief, wisdom teeth do not need to be removed. If they grow through straight and healthy, they can be a valuable asset to the mouth. However, as they’re the last teeth to erupt, there is often not enough room left in the mouth to accommodate them. When this occurs, wisdom teeth can become impacted (meaning they’re unable to fully erupt and are kept below the gum line), causing pain, tenderness and often infection. Wisdom teeth fighting for room can cause misaligned issues, and overcrowding which affects the front teeth. This can be rather daunting to someone who has undergone orthodontic treatment to achieve a straight smile. Reasons why people have their wisdom teeth removed: When they’re unable to erupt normally and remain impacted within the jaw. This can lead to infection, cysts, damage to other teeth roots and the jaw bone. They only partially erupt. This is often painful, making them difficult to clean, and can lead to gum disease and oral infection. Crowd nearby teeth. If they do not have enough room to erupt properly, they may crowd or damage other teeth. If they grow through rotten. If they’re difficult to clean. This could lead to not only the damage and loss of the wisdom teeth, but the neighboring tooth too. If they’re causing sinus...
Is oral surgery safe when I’m on Warfarin?

Is oral surgery safe when I’m on Warfarin?

Warfarin, and even more commonly used aspirin, are potent blood thinners and many people forget or don’t realise the need to tell their dentist they are taking it before undergoing surgery. Warfarin treatment does not automatically mean you can’t have teeth removed or undergo dental implant treatment. Indirectly though, surgery for anyone on blood thinners can be more complicated because blood will not clot normally and bleeding could be more difficult to stop. However, tooth removal is usually considered minor oral surgery, especially with a minimum of trauma in careful and experienced surgical hands. The surgeon who assesses your condition should work with your medical doctor to determine the risk and monitor your Warfarin dosage appropriately. Maintaining or reducing your dosage to accommodate minor oral surgery will depend on what condition you are taking the thinners for and the type of surgery you need. Your medical doctor may reduce your Warfarin dosage based on the PT/INR levels, which together with local treatment (ie stitching) will ensure that you have sufficient ability to stop bleeding and heal well. The key is communication between you, your doctor, and your dentist. It is not considered safe for you to stop Warfarin completely without your doctor’s approval. For the surgical procedure, your dental surgical specialist will take special precautions to help insure blood clotting and healing after surgery. These include treatment of the surgical site with special haemostatic agents which helps stabilize a blood clot, carefully suturing the gum tissues to reduce the surface area of the wound opening, and putting pressure on the wound edges to prevent the capillaries (tiny blood vessels)...
Wisdom teeth – to keep or not to keep?

Wisdom teeth – to keep or not to keep?

Historically, wisdom teeth removal was deemed a rite for passage of teenagers. Because they emerge after the jaw and other teeth have stopped growing, around ages 17-25, wisdom teeth often end up misaligned and impacted. Is it better to be safe (by removing them early) than sorry? There are some good reasons for early surgical intervention. The ease of removal is optimal before the wisdom teeth roots have fully formed, before they extend closer to the nerves. In the younger patient, the jawbone is softer, and recovery is quicker. (Most private health funds will cover wisdom teeth extraction surgery fee for patients below 18 and still under their parent’s policy.) If removal of otherwise trouble-free wisdom teeth is not justified, then these young patients are exposed to the risks of anaesthesia and surgery. Patients, their parents and dentist should discuss whether to keep symptom-free wisdom teeth until (and only if) issues develop. However, statistics show that 60% of these symptom-free wisdom teeth end up developing gum disease or cavities due to their position in the mouth. Surgery to remove wisdom teeth after disease has taken hold may add complications to recovery. In addition, fully developed wisdom teeth, after the age of 25, have large roots that are notoriously close to the nerves of the jaw. However, most dentists now agree that wisdom teeth that are completely erupted and functional, painless, cavity-free, in a hygienic environment with healthy gum tissue should be OK to keep – on the condition that it is monitored by regular exams and X-rays. Still, those healthy teeth pose a dilemma, because there’s no hard evidence...
Stem cells in wisdom teeth

Stem cells in wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth, they don’t do much – do they? In some people, wisdom teeth are great at growing sideways, well known for sitting on nerves, and usually have a buddy called Abscess. Though most of us would like or need them out at some stage, there is something special about them. The dental pulp of wisdom teeth contain stem cells which researchers claim can be used to make neural, bone and other cells. University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences are demonstrating that stem cells from the dental pulp of wisdom teeth can be ‘coaxed’ to become cells of the eye’s cornea and could one day be used to repair corneal scarring due to infection or injury. Read an article on the research...
Why we have wisdom teeth

Why we have wisdom teeth

“Anthropologists believe wisdom teeth, or the third set of molars, were the evolutionary answer to our ancestor’s early diet of coarse, rough food – like leaves, roots, nuts and meats – which required more chewing power and resulted in excessive wear of the teeth.” Read more on...