What problems are commonly associated with wisdom teeth?

Our wisdom teeth, or third molars, are generally the last of our adult teeth to emerge – in our late teens or early twenties.

wisdom tooth extraction

Our wisdom teeth, or third molars, are generally the last of our adult teeth to emerge – in our late teens or early twenties.

Because the mouth is already fully developed there is often a lack of space between the existing teeth and jaw preventing the wisdom teeth from emerging fully – this is known as impaction. Common complications of impaction can include painful inflammation, damage to adjacent teeth and discomfort from crowding.

Even when wisdom teeth do erupt successfully into the mouth they are often so far back they’re extremely difficult to care for with brushing and flossing. Fewer than 2 per cent of adults aged 65 have third molars that are free from cavities or gum disease.

Removal of wisdom teeth (or wisdom tooth extraction) may be recommended based on presenting complaints or on prevention of future problems.

In the short term, our dentists can prescribe medications to help reduce pain and swelling. This affords us time to carry out further assessment in the form of an OPG (orthopantomogram – or panoramic X-ray of the mouth and jaw).

From there, the wisdom teeth can be left in place and monitored or can be removed. 

Is wisdom tooth extraction suitable for you?

Whether or not you’re experiencing pain or discomfort from your wisdom teeth, it is generally recommended to screen for potential problems early.

Wisdom tooth removal is most suitable when:

  1. impaction is present, or
  2. infection or re-infection are likely, or
  3. there is the chance of damage to adjacent teeth (which would be irreversible), or
  4. it will help avoid the need for more complicated surgery later on.

Wisdom tooth removal is generally not recommended when the position and alignment of these teeth is good, although even in these cases we will monitor closely for the presence of cavities or gum disease.

What’s the procedure for treatment?

The main consideration for treatment is who should perform the procedure: a general dentist or a registered specialist?

While our general dentists can perform wisdom tooth extraction, in more complex cases we always recommend that an oral & maxillofacial surgeon carry out the procedure. These specialists are registered in the field of surgery of the mouth and jaw. In Australia they are required to qualify for degrees in dentistry, medicine and oral surgery (bringing their average training after becoming a dentist to 10–12 years). The key benefits of seeing a specialist are to reduce the risk of temporary conditions (excessive bleeding, severe swelling, and infection), permanent conditions (damage to adjacent teeth and nerves) and post-surgical complications.

For your absolute comfort, the procedure can be performed under general anaesthetic. Medicare rebates may apply with specialist treatment.

The Core Dental Group difference

Book a full check-up with Core Dental Group today

A full checkup with one of our friendly dentists involves a thorough assessment of your teeth and gums. It generally takes between 30 minutes and an hour. We offer no gap check ups for those with dental cover in their health insurance or a package for $95 that includes a comprehensive exam (item 011) as many X-rays as required (item 022), clinical photographs if desired (item 072 and/or 073) and a written treatment plan detailing all item numbers and costs.

In more complex cases, we’ll present the treatment plan at a subsequent free consultation.