Wisdom Teeth

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt into your mouth, usually at 17–21 years of age. When there is not enough room for these teeth to erupt, they become 'impacted'.

Human Jaw X Ray Highlighting Four Wisdom Teeth

Why do they need to be removed?

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause:

  • infection of adjacent gum tissue
  • dental decay of adjacent teeth
  • (in rare cases) cysts.

When should they be removed?

It is well documented that removal of wisdom teeth in young adults (below the age of 25) is associated with less post-operative pain and swelling than in older adults. If it is determined that the wisdom tooth is likely to cause problems, your dentist will usually recommend that you have them removed earlier rather than later.

Will you be awake or asleep during the procedure?

This will always be your choice, although recommendations will be made during your consultation appointment and your options will be assessed.

How much will it cost?

You will be given an quotation during your consultation appointment. This will include an estimate of hospital and anaesthetic fees if required. You may then wish to contact your health insurance fund to assess your out-of-pocket expenses.

Are there any risks?

As with all surgical procedures there are general and specific risks associated with removal of wisdom teeth.

There is a nerve called the inferior nerve alveolar that is located in the lower jaw bone and passes close to the roots of lower wisdom teeth. During an extraction of a lower wisdom there is a small risk that this nerve can be either damaged or bruised which can cause either a temporary or sometimes permanent numbness to lower the lip, chin, teeth and gums.

There is also a second nerve called lingual nerve that passes on the tongue side close to the lower wisdom teeth. Damage or bruising to this nerve can cause numbness/loss of taste to the tongue. Depending on the severity of the injury to the nerve the numbness/altered sensation should return in a period of weeks but may take months or in some cases can be permanent. The risks associated with your particular case will be discussed in detail during your consultation.
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