Wisdom teeth and what to do about them

The Trouble with Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are notoriously troublesome, causing inflammation, pain, and pressure in our mouths. It makes you wonder why we have them at all. Wisdom teeth are a part of our past.

During the time of our Palaeolithic ancestors, these broad teeth were useful for grinding down plant matter so it could be properly digested. However, the average human jaw at that time was larger, allowing plenty of space for these final teeth to come through. As agriculture evolved, our need for wisdom teeth lessened, and so did our available jaw space. Despite these evolutionary changes, most of us continue to be born with them.

The Last Teeth

Wisdom teeth (also called “third molars”) usually do not push through the gum until people are in their late teens, twenties or even older.  Wisdom teeth are usually the last teeth to come through the gums. Most people have four wisdom teeth, although some people have no wisdom teeth.

Commonly, there is little space at the rear of the jaw for wisdom teeth to come easily through the gums.  If the jaw does not have enough room for the wisdom teeth to come through, the tooth will become wedged-in or “impacted”.

Some impacted wisdom teeth remain buried and cause no trouble.  However, other impacted wisdom teeth may cause severe problems. The impacted tooth will routinely create pain and inflammation as it attempts to move through the gum. The gum tissue around an inflamed tooth is vulnerable.

Often, the gum is partially loose, allowing food to become trapped behind it, causing infection. It is not uncommon for people to live with this intermittent pain and moderate infection for years before finally seeking treatment.

Don’t put off a visit to the family dentist. Here at Coburg Dental Group, we understand wisdom teeth. We understand the anxiety they cause. Having your wisdom teeth removed is rarely the traumatic experience people imagine and can improve your quality of life enormously.

 

When to Have Your Wisdom Teeth Out

Removal of troublesome wisdom teeth should be done as soon as possible. This reduces the likelihood of infection. It also protects you from developing the feeling of tension in the jaw and compacted teeth.

Your dentist will have x-rays done to determine the position of your wisdom teeth.  If they are likely to be difficult or complicated to remove, your dentist may refer you to a specialist. Due to the shape and position of some wisdom teeth and their place within the jaw, it may be recommended you have an oral surgeon remove the teeth. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon is specially trained in surgery of the mouth, teeth, and jaws.  At Coburg Dental Group, Dr Claudia Beltrans has been university trained in oral surgery.

 

Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Removal of a wisdom tooth is a very common procedure. At Coburg Dental Group an experienced dentist will talk you through your tooth extraction process so you know what to expect.  They will also explain your post procedure care plan, and write you a prescription for pain relief.

A straightforward wisdom tooth removal takes place while the area is numbed, and will not be painful. It is surprisingly quick and you will not be at the clinic for long. In many cases we recommend sleep dentistry as the best way to remove your wisdom teeth.  Your dentist will discuss this with you. Caring for your gum afterwards is the primary concern you will have, and we will give you all the information you need.

If your wisdom teeth are causing you pain and bother don’t put it off any longer. Coburg Dental Group are the proud providers of the very best dental services in North Melbourne and beyond. To make an appointment or for any enquiries, contact us today.