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Wisdom Teeth

Understanding Wisdom Teeth

Definition and Emergence

The last set of teeth to develop and emerge in the mouth is the wisdom teeth, or third molars. For instance, these teeth usually make their appearance between the ages of 18 and 25. Furthermore, it’s common to have four of these teeth, but some individuals may have fewer or none at all. 

Diagnosis and Assessment

Dentists assess wisdom teeth through visual examination and x-rays. For instance, X-rays allow dentists to see the positioning of the teeth beneath the gums. Also, in their proximity to nerves, and the shape of the tooth roots, aiding in planning for potential removal.


Contrary to popular belief, there’s no substantial evidence suggesting that these teeth cause other teeth to become crooked. However, they can create a feeling of pressure as they push through the gums.

Cleaning Tips

Certainly, proper oral hygiene is crucial when wisdom teeth are erupting. Inadequate cleaning can lead to pericoronitis, an inflammation of the gums surrounding partially emerged teeth. Using a toothbrush with a small head or an antibacterial mouthwash can assist in keeping the area around these teeth clean.

Impaction and Associated Problems

If teeth are impacted, challenging to clean, prone to frequent infections, or pose a risk of decay or gum disease, dentists may extract them. Likewise, a general dentist or a specialist can perform the procedure using local or general anesthesia.

Extraction: Why and How?

Wisdom teeth may be extracted. Also, if they’re impacted, difficult to clean, frequently infected, or if they pose a risk of decay or gum disease. The procedure can be performed by a general dentist or a specialist, using local or general anaesthesia​.

Risks and Complications

Removing these teeth can entail risks such as nerve damage, dry socket, swelling, infection, and difficulty opening the mouth. For instance, this procedure is generally safer and easier when performed at a younger age, preferably by around 25.

Recovery and Aftercare

Recovery from wisdom tooth extraction can take about two weeks. During this time, it’s important to rest, especially in the first 24 hours. Post-operative tips include keeping the head elevated, eating soft foods, avoiding hot liquids and smoking. In addition, using ice packs to reduce swelling.

Potential Complications If Untreated

Leaving problematic these teeth untreated can lead to worsening symptoms. Also, can lead to serious infections, and can complicate other dental treatments.

Additional Treatment Options

There are alternatives to extraction. For example, pain management with paracetamol, antibiotics, or a minor procedure. These are to remove overlying gum tissue, may be considered in less severe cases.

Long-term Prognosis

Most people fully recover from wisdom tooth extraction. However, some may experience complications like dry socket or nerve damage, but these are relatively rare.

Seeking Professional Advice

Thus, it’s advisable to consult with a dentist if you’re experiencing discomfort. Also, if you have difficulty in opening your jaw, or other symptoms related to these teeth. Dental professionals can provide tailored advice and treatment options.

No, find a qualified dentist in Australia for these teeth concerns. The Australian Dental Association’s ‘Find-A-Dentist’ service is a useful resource.

Wisdom teeth are a common dental concern that can lead to various complications if not managed properly. Understanding the reasons for extraction, the risks involved, and the recovery process helps in making informed decisions about dental health. Regular dental check-ups can assist in monitoring the development of these teeth and addressing any issues promptly.


At The Cosmetic Dental Spa in Hurstville, we uphold the highest standards of patient care, creating an experience that embodies both comfort and excellence in dental health services. Our clinic is a sanctuary where advanced periodontal treatments are administered with precision and care, ensuring every patient achieves optimum oral health. We are ideally situated for those living in Hurstville and its environs, inviting residents from Beverly Hills, Kingsgrove, Bexley, Penshurst, Carlton, Allawah, Beverley Park, Blakehurst, Carss Park, Connells Point, Kogarah, Kogarah Bay, Lugarno, Mortdale, Oatley, and beyond to experience dental care at its finest. Our commitment to oral health is unwavering, with a focus on providing personalised periodontal care tailored to the unique needs of each individual, ensuring that the health foundation of their smile is as strong as it is aesthetically pleasing.

In the dynamic landscape of Hurstville and its neighbouring suburbs, The Cosmetic Dental Spa stands as a pillar of complete dental wellness. We cater to every dental requirement, from routine check-ups and cleans to emergency dental services, with the ability to provide same-day ceramic restorations thanks to our state-of-the-art CEREC technology. Our comprehensive services extend to root canal treatments, wisdom tooth extractions, the crafting of veneers, crowns, and implants, as well as offering periodontics, children’s dentistry, and aligners for orthodontic correction. Equipped with in-house X-ray machines, we ensure a prompt and effective diagnosis and treatment process. Every aspect of our practice is designed to make your visit efficient, thorough, and as comfortable as possible.

Our philosophy at The Cosmetic Dental Spa is underpinned by the belief that everyone deserves access to high-quality dental care. We are dedicated to offering a wide spectrum of dental services that cater to the diverse needs of our patients. From preventive care to the artistry of cosmetic dentistry and the meticulous execution of complex dental procedures, our team at The Cosmetic Dental Spa is unwavering in their commitment to dental excellence. This dedication is evident in our gentle approach and the meticulous attention to detail we apply in every treatment, ensuring that each and every patient departs with a smile that is both stunning in appearance and exceptional in health.

Frequently Ask Question

These teeth, or third molars, are the last adult teeth to emerge in the mouth, usually appearing between the ages of 18-25. These are typically the most posterior molars and can number up to four—one in each corner of the mouth. 

The emergence of these teeth typically occurs in the late teens to early 20s. However, this age can vary, and not all wisdom teeth will emerge fully, if at all​.

Yes, it’s possible to have fewer than four of these teeth. Some people may have only one, two, or three wisdom teeth, and there are also cases where individuals do not develop any wisdom teeth at all​2​.

Impaction refers to a tooth that has failed to emerge fully into its expected position. This can occur if there is not enough room for the tooth to emerge or if it grows at an incorrect angle, sometimes pushing into the gum, bone, or a neighboring tooth. Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to pain, infection, and other dental issues​2​​1​.

The signs of these teeth coming in include the appearance of teeth at the back of the mouth, feelings of pressure in the gums around the area, and sometimes pain or discomfort. If the teeth are impacted, there may be swelling, difficulty in opening the mouth, and other symptoms of infection​2​.

These teeth are not essential for oral health. Many people have them removed due to complications or the potential for problems in the future, especially if they are impacted and cause discomfort or dental issues​2​.

Wisdom teeth are often removed if they are impacted, cause pain, lead to infections or gum disease, damage other teeth, or if there isn’t enough room in the mouth for them to properly emerge. Removal is a common preventative measure to avoid future dental problems​.

Dentists assess wisdom teeth by examining the mouth and taking X-rays. X-rays can reveal the position of the teeth under the gums, the shape of the tooth roots, and their proximity to important facial nerves. This information helps in planning any necessary treatment, including removal​1​.

There is no substantial evidence to suggest that wisdom teeth cause other teeth to become crooked. They may cause a sensation of pressure as they emerge, but this does not necessarily result in the misalignment of other teeth​3​.

Pericoronitis is an inflammation of the gums that occurs around the wisdom teeth, particularly when they are partially emerged. It can be caused by bacteria and food particles getting trapped around the tooth, leading to painful and swollen gums. Good oral hygiene, including brushing and possibly using an antibacterial mouthwash, can help manage and prevent pericoronitis​1​.

It’s important to keep the area around emerging teeth clean to prevent pericoronitis, an inflammation of the gums. You should use a toothbrush with a small head to reach the back of your mouth and clean around the wisdom teeth. If the gums are severely inflamed, an antibacterial mouthwash can be used as a temporary measure, but it shouldn’t replace brushing​1​.

  • Wisdom teeth are often removed if they are impacted, difficult to clean, cause recurrent infections, or if a cyst or tumour has formed around the tooth. Extractions can be performed by a general dentist or dental specialist, and the procedure might take place in a dental clinic, day surgery clinic, or hospital​1​.
  • Possible complications include nerve damage leading to numbness or a ‘pins and needles’ sensation, dry socket, swelling, infection, damage to nearby teeth, difficulty opening the mouth, excessive bleeding, pain, and a possible opening to the maxillary sinus (for upper wisdom teeth.

After the extraction, it’s recommended to avoid spicy foods, crunchy and crumbly foods like chips or cookies, and foods with grains or seeds that can get stuck in the extraction site

You should avoid using a straw for at least a week after surgery because the sucking action can dislodge the blood clot from the socket, leading to a dry socket and disrupting the healing process

Post-surgery recommendations include limiting food and drink for two hours, not touching the extraction site, biting on gauze to help stop bleeding, resting, avoiding mouth rinsing or spitting for 12 hours, and being cautious when brushing teeth​

It’s advised to rinse your mouth at least 5-6 times a day with warm salt water, especially after eating, to aid in the healing process​

The recovery timeline is usually up to two weeks, with symptoms peaking in the first few days and gradually reducing afterwards. Complete healing of the socket can take up to a month, and bone remodelling may take about six months​.

Wisdom teeth extraction often involves the use of dissolvable stitches that typically dissolve within a few weeks​.

Warning signs to contact your dentist or surgeon include persistent bleeding that doesn’t subside with pressure, worsening swelling, throbbing pain that persists beyond three days post-surgery, fever, bad breath, and visible bone in the socket site​

Post wisdom teeth removal, it is recommended to avoid hard, crunchy, spicy, and difficult-to-chew foods that can irritate the surgery site. A soft food diet is usually advised for the first few days to a week after the procedure

Pain during the actual removal is typically managed with local anaesthesia or sedation. Post-operative pain is to be expected but can be managed with prescribed pain medications and over-the-counter painkillers​.

Signs of infection include persistent bad taste, fever, continuous throbbing pain, swelling that worsens after two or three days, and potentially pus from the surgery site. If you notice these symptoms, it’s crucial to contact your dentist.

Signs of infection include persistent bad taste, fever, continuous throbbing pain, swelling that worsens after two or three days, and potentially pus from the surgery site. If you notice these symptoms, it’s crucial to contact your dentist.

Swelling can be reduced by applying cold compresses to the cheek in intervals of 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off. This should be done during the first 24-48 hours after the procedure​.

A bad taste in the mouth can occur post-surgery, especially if there is bleeding or an infection. It is important to follow aftercare instructions and maintain oral hygiene to prevent this

The numbness from the local anaesthetic usually wears off within a few hours after the surgery. However, if a nerve was affected during the surgery, numbness could last longer and should be discussed with a dentist​

Yes, especially the upper wisdom teeth, since their roots can be in close proximity to the sinus cavity. During extraction, there is a risk of creating an opening into the maxillary sinus​

Dry socket is a condition where the blood clot at the surgery site fails to develop or dislodges before the wound has healed. If you suspect a dry socket, you should contact your dentist immediately for appropriate care​.

It is advised to wait at least 72 hours before smoking after wisdom teeth removal to prevent complications like dry socket. However, the longer you can wait, the better for the healing process​.

The average recovery time after wisdom teeth removal is typically 7 to 10 days, with complete healing taking several weeks to a few months, depending on factors such as the complexity of the extraction and the individual’s overall health​.

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