These days, with better technology and materials, dentists are able to save a lot more teeth than they did in the past. This is a good thing because no replacement will ever feel exactly like a natural tooth. However, there are times, if a tooth is very badly decayed, broken or cracked beyond repair, that the only option is to remove it.
Having a tooth removed need not be a scary or uncomfortable experience. At Pelago Dental we use a topical anaesthetic gel before all anaesthetic injections and we even arrange sedation options if required, however most of the time we we find people tell us it was a much less scary experience than they thought it would be. We will always take an x-ray before we remove the tooth, so that we can plan the safest and best way to remove it, and we can also discuss options to replace the missing tooth once it has been removed.
“Wisdom teeth” or third molars usually begin to erupt in the late teenage years or early twenties. Most people have four of them, however it is not unusual to have only one, two, three or none at all.
Often, as part of your check-up appointment with us, we will recommend an “OPG” x-ray to see if there are any wisdom teeth present, and if there is likely to be enough space for them to come through.
For some people, the third molars erupt and function just as any other tooth would because there is enough space in the jaw. For others, they remain ‘impacted’ and don’t ever erupt, and are therefore unlikely to cause many problems.
The most chance of problems occurs when they start to erupt (partially erupt) and ‘get stuck’ (impacted) because there is not enough room in the jaw. In this position the third molars are more at risk of gum infections (pericoronitis), developing a cavity or making it hard to clean the tooth in front properly leading to that becoming decayed also.
Wisdom tooth removal is a common procedure in Australia, and it is often better to plan in advance and remove wisdom teeth that we think are likely to cause problems. If the x-ray shows that the extraction is going to be particularly difficult, we will refer you to a specialist oral-maxillofacial surgeon or make arrangements for you to have these removed under a general anaesthetic.
If you think your wisdom teeth may be coming through or are causing pain, please call us as soon as possible and we can arrange an appointment to review them and plan the best course of action before your symptoms become worse.