Impacted Wisdom Teeth And Their Removal
Wisdom teeth are also called third molars, because they are the last of three molars found in each jaw. They emerge right at the back of the line of teeth, behind the second molars, usually somewhere between the ages of 18 and 25. Whilst they sometimes come through the gums without too much trouble, wisdom teeth are notorious for causing trouble and often need to be removed.
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need To Be Removed?
The problem with wisdom teeth is that there is often not enough room for them to fit into the line of teeth. So instead of erupting nicely into plenty of space, they end up partly or fully submerged below the gum, often pushed up against the second molar (a presentation known as ‘impaction’). This can cause pain, infection or even decay in one or both teeth. Occasionally cysts or tumours can form around unerupted wisdom teeth. If a wisdom tooth is found to have one or more of these issues, its removal may be recommended.
Using X-Rays To Check Wisdom Teeth
We like to make sure children and teenagers’ teeth are regularly reviewed for decay using small (bitewing) x-rays: these are great for locating decay and some types of gum disease, but they aren’t good at showing us what the wisdom teeth are up to. For this a larger x-ray, called an OPG (orthopantomogram), is required. We’ll often recommend an OPG to check for lurking wisdom teeth from the age of about 16 years.
An OPG shows every tooth in the mouth, from crown to roots, as well as the bone around the roots and details of the jaw joints and sinuses. It allows Dr Goyal to see:
- how many wisdom teeth are present
- whether they are impacted (or likely to become impacted)
- the number of roots and their shape
- whether the wisdom teeth, the second molars or the surrounding jawbone show any sign of disease.
Removing Wisdom Teeth
If wisdom teeth need to be removed, Dr Goyal will discuss this in detail with you recommend the best approach, as this will depend on
- the nature of the impaction
- the number of teeth that need to be removed
- your medical and dental history
- and, most importantly, your preferences for treatment.
Some wisdom teeth can be removed in our practice. If the thought of this makes you nervous, follow this link to learn how we can help you to feel more relaxed during the procedure. Other wisdom teeth need to be referred to one of our local dental specialists for management.
If you suspect your wisdom teeth are present and causing issues, please call Garran Dental on 6281 3562.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.