All About Wisdom Teeth
What are wisdom teeth and when does it erupt?
Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that most people get in their late teens or early twenties. If these teeth are healthy and properly aligned, they can be left in the mouth for normal function. However, if they are causing pain or swelling, they may need to be removed.
Does everyone have wisdom teeth?
No, not everyone gets wisdom teeth. While many people get all four of their wisdom teeth, some people may only develop three, two or even just one. Some people do not even develop any wisdom teeth.
How Do I Know if I Have Wisdom Teeth?
Ask your dentist about the positioning of your wisdom teeth. He or she will usually need to take an x-ray to evaluate for the presence and alignment of your wisdom teeth. Your dentist may also decide to send you to an oral surgeon for further evaluation.
What are the symptoms of wisdom teeth?
Some symptoms of wisdom teeth are pain in the jaw, tenderness, swelling around the gums, discharge if an infection is present. You may see it poking through the gum behind your second molar. Some people don’t have any symptoms of wisdom teeth, or the symptoms may come and go.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
What are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
A wisdom tooth is considered impacted if there is not enough room after the second back molar for the tooth to emerge or develop normally. They tend to be enclosed within the soft tissue and/or the jawbone or only partially break through or erupt through the gum.
When wisdom teeth are misaligned, its position may be horizontal, be angled toward or away from the second molars, or be angled inward or outward.
Your other teeth can be affected by the wisdom teeth
Impacted wisdom teeth refers to wisdom teeth that are in a poor position. A badly aligned wisdom tooth can crowd or damage adjacent teeth as they cause food and bacteria to be trapped, causing gum infection in the area or cavities to form on the wisdom tooth or even the tooth adjacent to the wisdom tooth.
Partial eruption of the wisdom teeth allows an opening for bacteria to enter around the tooth and cause an infection, which results in pain, swelling, jaw stiffness, and general illness. Partially erupted teeth are also more prone to tooth decay and gum disease because their hard-to-reach location and awkward positioning makes brushing and flossing difficult.
Therefore, if the wisdom teeth are in an unfavourable position, it is better to remove them so as to prevent any problems to the adjacent teeth or gums.
Should I do wisdom teeth extraction or Wisdom teeth Surgery?
If you experience any pain or swelling in the back gums, it may be due to the wisdom teeth. If the wisdom tooth is partially erupted or trapping bacteria, it is likely that the pain or swelling will recur even with medication as the cause of the problem can only be resolved wisdom tooth extraction or surgery. Wisdom tooth extraction can be done if the wisdom tooth is fully erupted or exposed. However, if the tooth is slanted or buried, you will need to do wisdom tooth surgery to remove it.
I have no pain, do I still need wisdom tooth extraction?
Your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend that your wisdom teeth be extracted even before problems develop. This is done to avoid problems such as decay or gum infection that could already have started but have not caused you any pain. If the wisdom tooth is partially erupted, it will eventually cause issues for your other teeth. If you had issues with the wisdom tooth in the past, it will likely cause issues again in future and often the only way to resolve it completely is to remove the wisdom tooth that is causing the trouble.
If you are experiencing any pain or issues with your teeth, please contact us
Do I need a specialist for my wisdom tooth surgery?
In more complicated cases, for example when the wisdom tooth is buried deep inside the bone, or if the wisdom tooth has multiple roots or curved roots with a higher risk of breakage, or if the jaw nerve or sinuses are very close to the wisdom tooth, your dentist may refer you to a oral surgeon specialist for the wisdom tooth surgery.
My wisdom tooth is not erupted, do I need to extract it?
In younger patients, if the wisdom teeth are present in x-rays and appear to be impacted, your dentist may recommend wisdom tooth surgery to avoid a more painful or more complicated surgery in the future as there are less complications when the wisdom teeth roots are not yet fully developed. Wisdom teeth may also be removed for orthodontic reasons.
Is Wisdom Tooth Surgery Medisave Claimable?
Wisdom Tooth Surgery can be done under local anaesthetic, whereby only the area of the wisdom tooth is numbed, or under general anesthetic in a day hospital. Wisdom tooth surgery is claimable under Medisave at Dental Designs Clinic. For children, you may also use your parents’ Medisave to claim for wisdom tooth surgery.
What Happens during Wisdom Tooth Surgery?
Before the wisdom tooth surgery, an x-ray of the jaw is taken to identify the position of the wisdom tooth including how many roots and if the roots are curved or thin as well as important structures such as nerves, sinuses, proximity to other teeth, amount of bone etc.
A wisdom tooth that is fully erupted through the gum can be extracted as easily as any other tooth. However, a wisdom tooth that is underneath the gums and embedded in the jawbone will require a small local surgery with an incision to access the gums and then removal of the portion of bone that lies over the tooth. Often, for a tooth in this situation, the tooth will be extracted in small sections rather than removed in one piece to minimize the amount of bone that needs to be removed to get the tooth out.
The relative ease at which your dentist or oral surgeon can extract your wisdom teeth depends on their position and stage of development. Your dentist will be able to give you an idea of what to expect during your pre-extraction consultation.
What Happens After Wisdom Teeth Surgery?
How soon I eat after wisdom teeth surgery?
After the surgery, the area will still be numb so avoid eating completely until the local anaesthetic wears off. Typically, patients can begin eating soft foods, slowly working their way up to more solid foods. Avoid foods that are hard, spicy or difficult to chew. Patients should follow their dentist’s instructions regarding diet and care after wisdom tooth removal.
How long will I take to recover after wisdom teeth surgery?
We usually estimate 7-10 days for a recovery period, however some people may experience shorter or longer recovery times. Most pain and swelling improves after the first 3-5 days of the surgery. At our clinic, the wisdom tooth surgery is done via a minimally invasive technique whereby the least amount of bone and gum is removed.
Will I have pain after wisdom tooth surgery?
After wisdom teeth surgery, it is normal to experience swelling and bruising for a few days up to 1-2 weeks, depending on how complicated the wisdom tooth surgery was. It also varies due to individual healing rates.
If wisdom tooth pain persists or worsens after 1-2 weeks, please contact your dentist as there is a small possibility of post-op infection or failure to heal.
Care instructions after Wisdom Tooth Surgery
Having a bloody taste in the mouth, a little oozing of blood or having a little blood in spit is normal and should be expected. No further steps need to be taken.
You should only be concerned about bleeding when there is a constant gush of blood from the wound. This can be stopped by placing a piece of gauze over the wound and biting hard with constant pressure, for 30-60 minutes. If there is a slight ooze or smear of blood around the area initially, it is normal.
There will be a blood clot in the wound for the first few days. As the mouth is a constantly wet environment, the blood clot does not dry up and should be left in place.
Please follow the post op care instructions given by your dentist to ensure proper healing.
• Have a good rest for the next few days. Do not do vigorous exercise or do heavy work. Try to keep the mouth closed.
• Do not smoke or drink alcohol
• Do not rinse the mouth often, and when you rinse do not rinse vigorously. Do not use your tongue to poke or press the wound. Vigorous rinsing may dislodge the blood clot and cause further bleeding or complications such as dry socket.
• You may place an ice-cold towel or ice pack over your cheek to help reduce the swelling. Do not put warm compresses on the cheek as this will worsen the swelling
• Take all the medicines given to you at the prescribed times. Painkillers can be stopped if you do not have pain. If antibiotics have been given to you, please complete the whole course.
• Keep to a soft diet. Avoid food that is hard (such as nuts or peanuts) , spicy or difficult to chew.
Continue to brush your teeth as per normal, avoiding areas that are painful. You may use an antibacterial mouth rinse.