Wisdom Teeth

X-ray showing problematic wisdom teeth

In the X-ray, the two lower wisdom teeth can be seen growing into the roots of the adjacent teeth.

Wisdom teeth are also known as third molars. They start developing around the age of 10 and surface during the teens to twenties. Often they don’t emerge and instead become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause problems. Depending on where they are, they may cause pain, or partially emerge, and require surgery to remove them. Impacted wisdom teeth may also shift over time and may cause jaw pain or even sinus problems.

Do your wisdom teeth need extraction?

Modern technology will help diagnose whether extraction is necessary. Your dentist may arrange X-rays or an OPG to reveal the structure of your tooth, the bone and other teeth surrounding it, and the best approach should an extraction be necessary.

Age is a factor

Dentists now recommend the removal of potentially problematic wisdom teeth before the age of 18, where possible. The reason for this is that potential complications increase with age as bone becomes more strongly fused to teeth and makes them harder to extract.

Extraction – what’s involved?

Extraction of impacted wisdom teeth may be straight-forward or it may be a complex surgical procedure. It may be performed by your dentist or it may require an oral surgeon. In many cases it may also involve full sedation (a general anaesthetic). Your dentist will be able to advise you of the costs and the extent of the procedure. Factors affecting cost include:

  • Need for full sedation
  • Need for an oral surgeon
  • Cost of X-rays
  • How close the wisdom tooth is to nerves and other teeth

In general, the costs associated with wisdom teeth are higher than for surfaced teeth. This is because the procedures tend to be more complicated. For those with adolescents, it is worth noting that early removal will tend to result in fewer complications and be less expensive than removing them later in life.