The removal of wisdom teeth is a procedure that many adults experience at some point in their lives. Unlike the rest of our permanent teeth that emerge from the gums when we are children, wisdom teeth begin to emerge at the end of adolescence. Depending on how they emerge, they can cause many complications. Wisdom tooth removal is a surgery that that many people will undergo. It contains all the risks of any other surgery, yet because it is so commonplace, many do not take this surgery as seriously as they should. Here is everything you need to know about wisdom teeth and the surgery that removes them.

Wisdom teeth are an extra set of molars that emerge around the age of 17. Anthropologists speculate that this third set of molars were necessary when early humans consumed a diet made up of rough, coarse food, like roots, nuts, and meats that caused excessive wear and tear on the molars. It is thought that by the time the wisdom teeth develop and emerge, there would be space for them because previous molars may have broken and fallen out. With the rise of softer foods, and implementation of utensils, our first two sets of molars can remain healthy and intact much longer than our ancestors’. The wisdom teeth are now “unnecessary” and can cause of discomfort for the modern mouth.

Not all Wisdom Teeth Need Extracting

It is a common misconception that everyone should have their wisdom teeth removed. Because wisdom tooth extraction is a surgery like any other, it contains many risks. If this set of third molars has grown in without complicating the rest of the systems, including the occlusion, sinuses and jaw, leaving them where they are is a perfectly sound course of action. However only about 25 percent of the population is lucky enough to have their wisdom teeth emerge without issue. Your Melbourne oral surgeon will be able to determine if your wisdom teeth are emerging without complication.

Most Wisdom Teeth Do Need Extracting

Wisdom tooth removal is one of the most common surgeries performed by oral surgeons. This is because between 75 and 80 percent of people will experience complications due to their wisdom teeth emerging. Complications can include:

  • Pain from pressure being put on the surrounding teeth and jaw bone.
  • Infections and cysts caused by a partially emerged wisdom tooth.
  • Tumors
  • Damage to the adjacent teeth.
  • Periodontal disease and decay originating at the site of the newly emerging tooth.

Wisdom teeth can make it very difficult to brush and floss your hind molars properly as well as cause the other teeth in your mouth to shift and make it increasingly difficult to maintain oral hygiene.

Impaction is the most common complication for wisdom teeth and often is the root cause of all the aforementioned symptoms of wisdom tooth complications. However, there are four different types of impactions patients experience. Following an X-ray examination Dr. Sedaros will be able to determine how exactly the impaction is manifesting, and create a plan to extract the wisdom teeth with no damage to the surrounding tissues and nerves.

Types of Impaction

  • Mesial Impaction – A Mesial Impaction is where the wisdom tooth is angled towards the front of the mouth and pushes up on the adjacent molar.
  • Distal Impaction  – A Distal Impaction is where the tooth is angled towards the back of the mouth.
  • Vertical Impaction – A Vertical Impaction is where the tooth is coming in straight up and down in the jaw. It may or may not need to be removed, depending on how close it is to the adjacent tooth.
  • Horizontal Impaction – A Horizontal Impaction is where the tooth is growing in horizontally in relation to the other teeth. This is a serious impaction and will most likely require surgery.

Depending on how serious your impaction is and how your wisdom teeth are complicating your oral health, extraction of wisdom teeth can be a very serious surgery. After a detailed examination, Dr. Sedaros will be able to determine the course of action that is right for you. He will also be able to provide you with detailed instructions on how to properly care for your mouth after a wisdom tooth extraction to prevent any further complications like infections and dry sockets. If you believe your wisdom teeth are causing you pain and creating complications within your mouth, call us at our Melbourne office today.