Wisdom teeth are the third molars in each quadrant of the mouth (right upper, right lower, left upper and left lower).
An ‘impacted’ wisdom tooth is one that has failed to fully erupt into the oral cavity within the expected time frame. By the time you are 18 years old, your wisdom teeth have nearly completed eruption into their final position, although this can sometimes change up to the age of 25.
The most common reason for impacted wisdom teeth is inadequate space in your jaw.
Not all wisdom teeth require removal. However, some reasons for removing wisdom teeth are:
Infections, Especially if you have recurrent episodes
Caries: Tooth decay which cannot be filled by the dentist
Pathology: Cyst around the tooth
Prior to other treatment: Certain high-risk surgeries, prior to radiotherapy
The removal of wisdom teeth can become complex depending on the position of the tooth crown, the position of the roots of the tooth and the proximity of surrounding structures. It may involve small cuts in your gum to expose the base of the tooth. A surgical drill may be used to remove bone or split the tooth to facilitate removal. Sutures may be required to close over the space after removal of the tooth.
Dr Tan-Gore will discuss with you any anticipated difficulties or risks specific to you.
There are risks to every surgical procedure and wisdom teeth removal is no exception. The risks include:
Nerve Injury: The nerve supply to your jaw, teeth and tongue may be temporarily or permanently affected.
Alveolar Osteitis (Dry Socket): Bacterial infection and early dissolution of the clot prevents healing, resulting in severe pain which can last for several weeks. There is a higher risk of developing dry socket in smokers or patients on the oral contraceptive pill. There is no treatment for this condition except for symptomatic control until delayed healing occurs.
Oral-Antral Communication: Upper wisdom teeth may communicate with the maxillary sinus and their removal may cause a hole between the mouth and the sinus. If the hole is small, the hole will heal with no intervention. If the hole persists, you may require a second surgery to address the issue.
Bleeding: Most episodes of post-operative bleeding can be managed with pressure. Dr Tan-Gore recommends that you roll up a piece of gauze, place it in the back of your mouth between your teeth and bite down with firm pressure for 30 minutes. If the bleeding continues, please contact Dr Tan-Gore for further instructions. If the bleeding is excessive and continuous, please attend your closest Emergency Department for treatment.
Displacement: In rare cases, the tooth or parts of the tooth may be inadvertently pushed into an area that cannot be easily reached (e.g. sinus, inferior alveolar canal, floor of mouth). If the fragment is small, it may not require removal. If it is symptomatic, further surgery may be required.
Other rare and unusual risks include jaw fracture, jaw dislocation and damage to adjacent teeth.
Dr Tan-Gore will discuss the risks with you to help you make the best decision for you and your health.
Removal of your wisdom teeth requires a day admission to hospital. You may require 1-2 weeks off work.
Dr Tan-Gore charges a fee of approximately $2000 for removal of four wisdom teeth, depending on the complexity of the surgery. Your Health Fund may or may not cover the costs of the procedure, hospital stay or anaesthetic costs.
Dr Tan-Gore and her team want to ensure that you avoid financial stress so it is important that you determine your level of cover and the out-of-pocket costs to you prior to surgery.