I am having my wisdom teeth removed: What can I expect?

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Specialist Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon
B.D.Sc. (Melb), M.B.B.S (Hons) (Melb), PGDip.Surg.Anat (Melb), M.D.Sc (OMS) (Melb), F.R.A.C.D.S (OMS)

faq-wisdom-teethDr Patrishia Bordbar, a highly trained specialist in oral and maxillofacial surgery, reveals what you can expect when having your wisdom teeth removed.  

So let’s start with the basics: wisdom teeth – what are they?

Wisdom teeth are the last molars at the back of the mouth. Most people have four; one set at the top, and one set at the bottom. They’re the last teeth to erupt, usually making an appearance in the late-teenage years. The problem is, there often isn’t enough room for these teeth to erupt normally and become fully functional teeth. So they become, what we call, ‘impacted’. That is, they will either fully or partially be covered by gum, and often pushed towards the neighbouring teeth.

It can be difficult to clean the area around an impacted wisdom tooth, and this is why they can become decayed or infected, or even cause damage to the neighbouring teeth. These are some of the reasons why we remove them.

Is there an ideal time to perform this surgery? 

The best time is earlier rather than later in the patient’s oral development, preferably before the age of 25. But naturally, they can be removed at any age if they become problematic.

I remember having an anaesthetic to have mine removed, but friends have boasted about being awake during the procedure.

Yes, it does vary. But during the consultation, a specialist oral and maxillofacial surgeon will advise patients regarding the most appropriate form of anaesthesia for removal of their wisdom teeth.

And why do some people have their wisdom teeth removed by their general dentist, while others go and see the specialists, like yourself?

In the past, if the extractions were expected to be straightforward, it was common for their general dentist to perform the procedure. But these days, many dentists will refer you to a registered specialist oral and maxillofacial surgeon, especially if you wish to be fully anaesthetised, or if your extractions are expected to be more complex. At Smile Solutions, we make that referral totally seamless, because we all work together in the one location.

I suppose there are the usual risks that doctors always tell their patients about, so it makes sense to be in the hands of the most highly qualified practitioner available.

That’s right. As oral and maxillofacial surgeons, not only are we fully qualified dentists, but we’re also fully qualified and registered medical doctors who have carried out additional certified specialist training in a hospital setting, just like a surgeon in any other medical field. So our patients can be reassured that they’re being treated by the experts in this field.

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