Do I Need to Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Hi Dr Stephen Pearson here from Plaza Dental in Mackay. I was with Michelle and her teenage daughter Jodie from Glenella yesterday, and Michelle asked me, “Does Jodie need to have her wisdom teeth removed or taken out?”

This is quite a common question asked by our teenage patients and their families. The answer is maybe. It is different for everybody. So I thought I’ll make this video analysing some of the reasons why you might need to have your wisdom teeth removed, and what the best timing is to have that done.

Wisdom teeth are the common name for your final molar teeth. These generally develop during the late teenage years. Wisdom teeth only have to be removed if they become a problem, or are likely to become a problem. So for some patients, their wisdom teeth erupt, which means they grow up through the gum into a normal biting position where they can be kept cleaned and maintained without too many problems. So for these patients, no, your wisdom teeth don’t need to be removed.

For other patients, there is not enough room for the wisdom teeth to come through properly, or the wisdom teeth are coming through at such an angle that they can’t come all the way through. This is the group of patients who need to be more concerned about their wisdom teeth.

The teeth that are the most problematic are the teeth that come partway through the gum. Those teeth generally have to be removed. The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, you are not able to keep the area clean, so there is an increased risk of decay. As well as the risk of decay, not being able to keep them clean means that they can be infected underneath the gum. The common signs of this are pain, if the gum around the area feels tender to touch, becomes swollen and is sore.

In addition, if it feels like the tooth is growing up and down there it is not actually the tooth growing up and down. What happens is when the gum becomes infected, it swells up and that gives the feeling that the tooth is pushing through. Once it resolves, it feels like it’s shrinking back.

Other signs are when the infection gets worse, your glands can become swollen underneath your jaw and you can have difficulty opening your mouth. People in this situation are almost always better off having their wisdom teeth removed. And often you are better off having all the wisdom teeth removed under general anaesthetic at the one time.

The final group of people are the people whose wisdom teeth are all the way underneath the gum. It is a little bit more complicated as to whether or not these teeth should be removed and this is assessed on a case by case basis. There are pros and cons to both, but generally speaking, it should be reviewed on a regular basis with dental x-rays and dental examinations so it can be assessed based on your individual circumstance.

So if you are experiencing any of the symptoms I just shared with you, or if you have teenagers with their wisdom teeth coming through, why not come in and see us, and we can give you an expert opinion.

Simply direct message us on social media, call us on 07 4942 3272, or go to our website on plazadental.com.au and fill in the enquiry form, and one of our friendly team members will help you arrange your appointment.

 

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