Most people have four wisdom teeth and some have none. But in most cases, the jaw may not have enough space for the wisdoms to erupt, hence the tooth can be blocked by the adjacent molars or ‘impacted’.
This can cause problems such as:
- Cavities that develop from food trapping
- Pain that develops from inflammation and infection of gums
- Destroyed jaw bone due to cyst formations around unerupted wisdoms
- Resorption of adjacent molars due to pressure from impacted wisdoms
Common conditions after wisdom tooth surgery include pain, swelling, bleeding and restricted jaw opening (improves in 1-2 weeks). Other possible complications on case by case basis include:
- Numbness of lower lip or tongue for a few days, weeks or even months. Most cases improve or disappear, however there is a very small risk of permanent lower lip numbness (< 1%) and/or
- tongue numbness (< 0.5%).
- Infection (unlikely with antibiotics given)
- Jaw fracture (extremely unlikely)
- Damage to adjoining teeth (very unlikely)
- Sinus opening (needing repair)
It is best to have them removed in your early 20s as the bone surrounding the tooth is softer, allowing for easier removal and less damage to surrounding structures. Your dentist will advise you whether they should be removed under local or general anaesthesia. If your wisdoms are very complicated, we may refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.