What Are Wisdom Teeth and Why Do You Have a Wisdom Tooth Problem?
Wisdom teeth are the third last permanent molars. Most people have four wisdom teeth, two in the upper jaw and two in the lower jaw. Some of you may have lesser than 4 wisdom teeth or even none.
Each emerging at the back of the mouth around the age of 17- 25, and hence the name “wisdom tooth” refer to the late eruption of these teeth as the person is supposed to be “wiser” compared to changes of milk teeth during the early part of childhood to teenage years.
Why Should You Fix Your Wisdom Tooth Problem?
When there is insufficient space at the back of the jaw for the wisdom teeth to erupt fully in an upright position, they become impacted or blocked by the adjacent second molars in front. This create a large gap that that lead to bacterial trap and food trap causing multiple problems to you if you do not remove them early.
The following are some of the possible complications that a problematic wisdom teeth may create.
Gum infection – If the wisdom tooth has started to break through the gum line, bacteria can easily seep through this opening, setting the stage for a gum infection as it is impossible to clean under this gum flap. This infection tends to occur during period of lowered immunity like prolonged period of stress at work/study and lack of sleep.
Extensive tooth decay – Impacted or crooked wisdom teeth in relationship to the adjacent molars causing food trap in these hard-to-reach areas where it is difficult or impossible to brush or floss. The result is extensive tooth decay in the wisdom tooth itself or more commonly on the molar in front of it.
Untreated tooth decay eventually will destroy the wisdom tooth or adjacent tooth and may need to be removed eventually either one or even both teeth.
Pain – Pain, swelling and a stiff jaw are symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth. The source of pain could be due to gum infection or tooth decay of the wisdom tooth itself or the adjacent molar in front of it. Pain is a symptoms of damage to the body, a warning sign something is wrong.
The swelling and stiff jaw is the result of the spreading infection leading to inflammation of the surrounding soft tissue and spasms of the jaw muscles.
Damage to other teeth – Crooked wisdom teeth sometime may erode the roots of neighbouring teeth, causing structural problems and may totally destroy the tooth if not detected early.
Cyst – Impacted wisdom teeth can create a cyst that damages the bone supporting teeth and the roots of adjacent teeth.
Types of Wisdom Tooth Removal
If wisdom teeth have grown in normally and in an upright position, the dentist may be able to remove them out like an ordinary tooth with a simple extraction. The tooth can be extracted under local anesthesia without performing a minor oral surgery.
Usually, wisdom teeth are impacted (blocked and crooked) to some degree or grow in sideways due to the lack of space in the jaw.
Because of this physical tight condition, a minor oral surgery or Wisdom tooth surgery is required to remove the impacted wisdom tooth by removing some bone and cutting the tooth into smaller pieces that can be squeezed out of the tight area.
How Long Does the Procedure Take?
For normal extraction, the procedure will usually take 10-20 minutes.
For a surgical removal, the procedure will usually take 30-45 minutes.
Is Wisdom Tooth Removal Painful?
Before the extraction or surgical operation of the wisdom tooth area, you will have the area numbed under local anaesthesia. You will feel some pressure or force but not pain. The injection to administer the anaesthetic can be a little painful, but our dentist may use a special numbing gel to help with this.
In the unlikely event that you start to feel pinching or pain, alert our dentist immediately. If you are anxious about feeling pain during the procedure, agree in advance a signal you can use to show our dentist that you need to speak.
It’s more likely that you’ll feel some discomfort or pain after tooth extraction, once the anaesthetic has worn off. Our dentist will prescribe you with painkillers for managing the pain.
Do I need to see a specialist or oral surgeon to remove my wisdom tooth?
Most of the wisdom tooth surgeries can be performed by our dentists in the clinic setting. Occasionally, very difficult or deeply impacted wisdom tooth removal may need the help of a specialist or oral surgeon to remove it as the risk increased with complexity of the cases. In such cases and for your safety, we will refer you to either a government hospital or a private specialist clinic to had your wisdom tooth removed. We do this because we value your health and safety over profit.
Can I use Medisave to pay for my wisdom teeth removal?
You can use Medisave for pay for the surgical removal of wisdom tooth for yourself and immediate family. It is fully claimable in our clinics, which means you do not need to pay any cash from your own pocket. Call our clinic to find out if your removal of the wisdom tooth is a simple extraction or require a surgery. Only surgical removal of wisdom tooth is Medisave claimable, simple extraction is not.
Will wisdom teeth grow back?
Once the wisdom tooth is removed, it will not grow back.
Can I choose to have General Anaesthetic?
Yes, you may. However, we do not provide GA in our clinics. We will need to refer you to a hospital or specialist clinic that provides such service. At the same time, you need to understand the cost of treatment will increase and the risks and potential side effects of GA must be considered.
Can I choose not to remove my wisdom teeth?
If your wisdom teeth are not causing you any problems, you may choose not to remove them. However, there are many who choose to remove their wisdom teeth as a preventive measure once there is a sign of food trap, swelling or pain.
If your wisdom teeth are giving problems as listed above, you should remove them. Otherwise, the problems will persist and they will create bigger problems in the future. In this case, removing your wisdom teeth will definitely benefit you.