Wisdom Teeth Removal

In some cases, wisdom teeth were extracted because the wisdom teeth had been causing severe pain due to infection in the tissues surrounding the tooth. In other cases, the wisdom teeth were removed as a preventive measure to avoid the problems due to impacted wisdom teeth.

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, emerge during early adulthood. A panoramic dental radiograph (x-ray) will confirm the number of wisdom teeth in a person’s mouth and indicate whether any of these teeth are buried or unerupted. It also allows full radiographic examination of the upper and lower jaw architecture and all the teeth present.

What’s wrong with wisdom teeth?

Due to our smaller jawbones, wisdom teeth often do not properly erupt and can grow sideways, emerge part-way out of the gum, or remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. As maintaining their cleanliness is difficult, gum and bone infection is very common. Wisdom teeth and their adjacent teeth can also become decayed. Chronic pain, migraines, headaches and facial pain can result. The adjacent teeth can also become so grossly carious that root canal therapy may be the only way to salvage the tooth. In some circumstance, the adjacent tooth may be replaced by a dental implant.

Even when the wisdom teeth erupt properly, there may be a tight fit in the back of the mouth, making it very hard to clean them properly ¨C leading to decay.

Modern human beings retain most of our teeth. As a result, wisdom teeth are usually non-functional. You will not suffering from lack of chewing ability because of wisdom teeth removal.

Should I Remove My Wisdom Teeth?

The younger one is, the easier the removal of the wisdom teeth, as the bone is more elastic and the roots are shorter. With proper management, the procedure is smooth and seldom causes any significant swelling or discomfort afterwards.

Experts recommended wisdom teeth to be removed during teenage years or in the early 20s. People in this age group recover faster. Practically speaking, younger individuals can schedule their time easier than a working adult with a family, as less interruption is needed for younger individuals. You will never miss those problematic wisdom teeth!

Delaying treatment may increase the likelihood of pain, infection and problems associated with the wisdom teeth. Researchers have found that patients aged 30 years and above may be at greater risk for gum disease in the tissues surrounding the wisdom teeth and adjacent teeth, which can, in turn, affect general health. It is also unwise to delay removal of wisdom teeth until pain and infection set in as healing may be complicated and more prolonged. It is better to remove the wisdom teeth preventively before they become infected as infected wisdom teeth are more complicated and more expensive to treat.

The Process

The procedure can be performed under local anaesthesia alone, or together with intravenous sedation, which puts patients in a relaxed state of mind and significantly reduces any anxiety factors. Sedation can be done in the clinic with the assistance of an anaesthetist who will administer the sedation and monitor the patient’s vital conditions. General anaesthesia usually takes place in a hospital or day surgery centre and increases the total cost of treatment. Whichever method selected to remove wisdom teeth, with proper expertise, wisdom teeth removal can be accomplished under an hour for all four teeth or under 30 minutes for two teeth.

Minimal Downtime

Most patients can get back to normal daily activities within a few hours after wisdom tooth surgery. A reasonable dinner is commonly expected. You may want to take it easy after the procedure and follow the instructions from your dentist on post-surgery activities to ensure a quick and smooth recovery.

Research has shown that the overall dental condition improves after the removal of wisdom teeth. Prevention is always better than cure and early removal avoids all the associated problems stated.

Contributed by
Dr Ho Kok Sen
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon
Specialist Dental Group®