Wisdom teeth typically emerge sometime during your teenage years, and for some people, they don’t cause any problems. However, for many adults and teenagers, it’s worth considering a wisdom tooth extraction – here’s what you should know.

What are impacted wisdom teeth?

We call wisdom teeth ‘impacted’ when they don’t emerge properly through the gum. Impacted wisdom teeth may:

  • Develop at an angle and can cause resorption of the 12 year old molars
  • Only emerge halfway through the gum, leading to an increased risk of decay and infection
  • Be a source of jaw pathology

Impacted wisdom teeth can be really painful, which is one of the reasons why they’re extracted.

Are there any benefits of keeping wisdom teeth?

To be clear, there’s absolutely no need to remove wisdom teeth before you undergo orthodontic treatment like braces or aligners. So if your wisdom teeth grow in properly and cause no issues, it may not be worth extracting them. They won’t do you any harm.

The best part? You can avoid the two main disadvantages of removing wisdom teeth: oral surgery and the (sometimes painful) recovery process!

What happens if you don’t pull out wisdom teeth?

The long-term effects will depend on the position of the tooth and what damage it’s causing to the surrounding structures:

  • You could develop tooth decay or gum disease.
  • If wisdom teeth are impacted, you may develop an infection around the gum.

If left untreated, impacted or crowded wisdom teeth can affect your overall oral health, so you should contact a dentist for advice.

Are wisdom teeth harder to extract?

They can be harder to extract than regular teeth, yes, but not always. It very much depends on the tooth’s position and whether it’s fully erupted through the gum or not. In general, upper wisdom teeth are usually easier to remove than lower ones.

Do all wisdom teeth extractions require stitches?

No. Unless the dentist cuts into your gum tissue, you probably won’t need stitches.

Should I go under for wisdom teeth removal?

Not always. It depends on how complex the extraction is. However, even if you need a general anaesthetic, you can usually go home the same day.

What are the side effects of wisdom tooth extraction?

Most side effects are mild and include:

  • Jaw joint pain
  • Pain, swelling and bruising around the jaw
  • Sensitivity in nearby teeth
  • Difficulty opening your mouth

There’s always a chance you could develop ‘dry socket’, which is when a clot doesn’t form in the extraction site. This can be painful, but your dentist can help if it happens.

How long does it take to recover?

Wisdom tooth extraction recovery varies widely between patients, but a full recovery can take up to two weeks. For difficult extractions, it could take longer. Stick to soft foods for a few days after surgery, and rest as much as possible. Follow whatever advice your dentist gives you.

Wisdom teeth removal

With offices in Wollongong, Shellharbour, Southern Highlands and Parramatta, Smile Team is ready and waiting to assist you across NSW with your orthodontic needs. So, whether you’re looking for sleep screening or a retainer, or you need some advice on your child’s smile, contact us today to book an assessment at your local office.