The last teeth to erupt in your mouth, wisdom teeth are a third set of molars that usually make their appearance during your late teens and early twenties. If wisdom teeth erupt properly and grow in straight, they usually don’t need to be removed. Unfortunately, all too often, wisdom teeth can cause a host of oral problems, including pain, infection, tooth decay, misalignment, and even jaw and nerve damage.
It’s important to recognise that even unseen wisdom teeth often cause serious problems. That’s why experts recommend wisdom teeth be evaluated early, usually during the mid-teen years. Early treatment can not only resolve any current problems, but can also prevent serious issues that may develop in the future. Dr McHugh can examine your wisdom teeth, determine the best treatment options, and remove the wisdom teeth if required.
Frequently Asked Questions
Nicknamed “wisdom teeth” because they usually erupt between the ages of 17 and 25 (the so-called “age of wisdom”), wisdom teeth are a third set of molars at the back of your mouth. Anthropologists believe that wisdom teeth were once necessary so that our early ancestors could eat a rough diet of uncooked meat and bones, which required more chewing power.
Over the years, however, human dietary needs, as well as jawbone anatomy, have evolved to the point where wisdom teeth are not only unnecessary, but are now often detrimental to our modern oral health. With softer diets and shorter jawbones, the average modern human mouth can comfortably accommodate 28 teeth.
The addition of four wisdom teeth often creates crowding and eruption problems that can give rise to a variety of oral health issues.
As wisdom teeth struggle to find room to grow in a crowded mouth, these teeth may grow in sideways, partially emerge, or even remain trapped under the gums. When wisdom teeth are partially or completely trapped in the gum, they are called impacted. While wisdom teeth can cause obvious issues such as misaligned and crowded teeth, impacted wisdom teeth may cause many unseen and serious problems, such as jaw and nerve damage.
Whether your wisdom teeth have come in or not, they may be causing problems that could include:
– Misalignment of jaw and teeth
– Tooth decay from trapped bacteria and food
– Pain, stiffness and swelling
– Gum disease
– Jawbone damage
– Nerve damage
– Cysts and tumours in the jaw
Early evaluation and removal of wisdom teeth is the best way to resolve and prevent problems associated with wisdom teeth.
Removing wisdom teeth can not only resolve current problems with overcrowding and misalignment, but can also help prevent more serious issues such as infection, decay, and jaw and nerve damage. Wisdom teeth can be removed easily and safely by a skilled and experienced surgeon.
Yes. Removing wisdom teeth is easier in young patients because the roots aren’t fully developed and the jaw bone is less dense.
Additionally, healing and recovery times will be shorter for younger people.
Your specific expectations will depend on many factors, including the position of the wisdom teeth and the amount of root development.
In most cases, wisdom teeth can removed easily and safely under IV sedation at our clinic in Penrith, or under general anaesthetic at Nepean Private Hospital.
Dr McHugh has a wealth of experience in extracting wisdom teeth, from the simplest extractions to the most difficult cases. Dr McHugh will conduct a thorough examination and answer any questions you may have before your procedure.
Your specific recovery will depend on many factors, including your age, overall health and the difficulty of the extraction.
Most patients will experience some swelling and mild discomfort after surgery, and you will be limited to a soft diet until the discomfort passes.
You may be prescribed antibiotics or pain medications, if necessary. Dr McHugh will discuss all the details about your surgery and recovery with you before your procedure.