The Getting of Wisdom Teeth

The Getting of Wisdom Teeth

Some of us will go through the pain of wisdom tooth removal, others never will. It’s the luck of the draw. It’s important for dentists to be able to distinguish wisdom tooth pain from cavity pain and to take action to free their patients of repeated episodes of acute pain. 

Many people view wisdom tooth removal as one of the big, painful procedures, requiring a lot of wrenching and pulling and a foot on the chest. It doesn’t have to be like that. Wisdom tooth removal can be reasonably straightforward. As a guide, the top teeth are much simpler to remove, while the bottom ones can be more challenging.

In my opinion this is because the jawbone is denser. In the maxilla, the bone’s softer and just easier to take out. I would estimate that around 90 per cent of top wisdom teeth will come out within 10 to 15 minutes. The bottom ones, depending on if they’re growing straight or sideways—there are a few variables—are a bit more tricky, because they’re just stronger teeth.

Why get your wisdom teeth out?

So how do you know when you need your wisdom teeth out? Most commonly, this will be if a wisdom tooth is growing sideways or not quite upright and it’s pushing on either the tooth or the gum, the tooth in front or the gum surrounding it, and causing pain. You’ll know if this is happening because it’s a unique pressure pain in the mouth. If the tooth is obstructed in some way from coming all the way through, it will become a long-term pain issue.

Patients can expect episodes of extreme pain. Untreated, what will go on to happen is that the tooth will get infected. The infection can be cleared up at the dentist, because we’ll flush it out, but it will then come back. It’s pretty severe acute pain – it’s not something that’s a two-out-of-ten pain, it’s more like an eight, nine or ten pain. 

That’s the first reason for wisdom tooth removal. The other one occurs when the tooth is so far back in the mouth that the patient finds it difficult to clean. Then, when the tooth comes through, it is more prone to decay and things like that, because it’s so far back. That’s actually what happened to my wisdom teeth.

The removal process

When our patients come in for their six-monthly check-ups, we can observe the wisdom teeth, monitor them and talk patients through what’s happening. Patients can then have the discussion about what they want to do about the situation—whether they’re happy to wait it out and see, or have the teeth removed. 

It’s quite easy to distinguish between the kind of pain you get from a problem with your wisdom teeth and the kind of pain you might get from a hole in your tooth somewhere, or an exposed nerve. Of course, it depends on the cause of the pain from the wisdom tooth. If your wisdom tooth has got a hole in it and it’s cavity pain, then yes, it’s the same as the other dental pain.

How do you know if you need wisdom tooth removal?

For the majority of cases of wisdom teeth pain that we see, the cause tends to be that the teeth are not coming through straight, so they’re pushing on something: the tooth in front, the jaw bone, gums, or cheeks. It’s more of a pressure pain, as if something were pushing really, really hard on the area. Some patients say that it’s worse than childbirth.

If you think you may need help with your wisdom teeth, call us today on (07) 3350 2517.