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 pain or congestion.
- If they’re causing too much pain or discomfort.
What to expect before and after wisdom teeth removal?
The wisdom teeth extraction procedure will vary depending on the placement and condition of the teeth. For example, wisdom teeth that have fully erupted and are being removed due to cleaning difficulty, or because they have caused crowding, is a much simpler and less invasive procedure than someone having theirs removed due to impaction. For severe cases, where the teeth are still impacted in the bone, the patient is likely to be put to sleep and the procedure carried out at a hospital. Whereas, a minor case can be performed in the dental chair under local anesthetic.
Here is a general outline of what you can expect during the wisdom teeth removal procedure:
- The dentist will first conduct an oral examination to determine the level of complication and what removal procedure to follow.
- Using either local anesthetic, sedation, or general anaesthesia (or a combination), the dentist will numb your mouth and/or suppress your consciousness during the surgery.
- Depending on the level of eruption or severity of the impaction, the dentist will either remove the tooth or create an incision in the gum to expose the tooth and bone before removing it.
- Any bone blocking access to the root of the tooth will need to be removed.
- In situations where the tooth root is strong and/or the removal is difficult, the tooth may be divided into several pieces.
- The extraction site is cleaned to prevent infection.
- The site is stitched up, usually using dissolvable stiches.
- A gauze is placed over the extraction site to reduce and stop any bleeding and assist the formation of a blood clot.
- The dentist will outline how to prevent dry socket from occurring and how to care for your healing gums.
How much does wisdom teeth removal cost?
The cost of a wisdom tooth extraction varies between patients, as it is dependent on the degree of impaction. The cost is per tooth and can range from as little as $75 to $800+. If the wisdom teeth are severely impacted (still situated within the jaw bone) and general anesthetic is required, there will also be the additional fees of the anesthetist and the hospital stay. However, costs can often be offset by dental and medical insurance. The best way to find out how much wisdom teeth removal is going to cost, is by making an appointment with your dentist. After a consultation and oral examination, they will be able to give you a personalised quote.
Factors that will influence the cost of wisdom teeth extraction:
- Is the wisdom tooth impacted?
- Has the wisdom tooth erupted?
- What is the degree of impaction/eruption?
- What position is the tooth lying in? i.e. are they at an angle?
- Was the tooth easily removed, or was further breaking up required?
- Was sedation required?
- What level of sedation was required?
- How long did the process take?
- Do you have dental insurance?
Contact South Street Dental today and request an appointment to have your wisdom teeth examined by one of our dentists.