Wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth are the very last molars that come through in your late teens or early 20s. Most
people will have four wisdom teeth, while some people will not develop all four, or have no wisdom
teeth at all.
Often wisdom teeth can erupt fully and not cause any problems in the long term. However, some
wisdom teeth can become impacted due to the lack of space, therefore they can be stuck
underneath the gum or only partially appear in the mouth. When wisdom teeth are impacted, they
have the potential to cause pain, food trap, tooth decay, infection, and damage to the adjacent
teeth and jaw structures. If your wisdom teeth are causing you problems, your dentist may
recommend removing them. Wisdom teeth that are causing problems or at a high risk of causing
problems in the future at best removed at a younger age to reduce the likelihood of any
Signs of wisdom teeth infection:

  • Redness and tenderness of the gums around the wisdom tooth
  • Bad taste and breath
  • Swelling and pain around the jaw
  • Difficulty opening the mouth

The removal of wisdom teeth is not without risks, which will be explained prior any treatment. To
fully assess the probable risks and provide you with the optimal outcome, a 3D X-ray (CT scan) is
often needed. Possible complications following wisdom teeth removal can include:

  • Damage to the nerve supplying the wisdom teeth (lower wisdom teeth)
  • Opening with the maxillary sinus (upper wisdom teeth)
  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Damage to adjacent teeth
  • Dry socket

Wisdom teeth removal can often be performed under local anaesthesia. At Redcliffe Smiles, we also
offer the options for sedation under happy gas (nitrous oxide), as well as being put to sleep under
general anaesthetic to reduce pain and anxiety, providing a more comfortable experience.
You can’t prevent a wisdom tooth impaction from occurring but keeping regular six-month dental
check-ups will enable your dentist to monitor the growth of your wisdom teeth and help intervene
should any symptoms develop.

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