Wisdom tooth

WHY HAVE WISDOM TEETH EXTRACTED?

Wisdom teeth only require removal if they are causing, or are likely to cause, problems. If the tooth is impacted (partially emerged), food may become trapped around the tooth. This can lead to decay, gum disease, cellulitis, abscesses, cysts and benign growths. Antibiotics and antiseptic mouthwash may treat these problems, though removal of the tooth is often necessary.

WHAT IS INVOLVED?

The wisdom tooth, or teeth, may be removed in the chair at your dental clinic, or in hospital. In the chair, the procedure only requires a local anaesthetic and, like other tooth extraction, involves applying pressure to, and rocking, the tooth to loosen the socket. For some patients, the gum may need to be cut and the tooth may need to be cut into smaller pieces in order to remove the tooth.

If the tooth is causing problems or there is high procedural risk, you will most likely be referred to an oral surgeon and the procedure will be completed in hospital under general anaesthetic.

POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS

Infection or delayed healing may occur. A possible complication is ‘dry socket’, which involves dislodgement of the blood clot and manifests as a throbbing ache and a foul smell emitted from the socket.

COSTS

Costs vary depending on the procedure, though the average cost is around $400 per tooth.

For a simple extraction of an already emerged wisdom tooth, prices vary between $200 and $250. A more extensive treatment, under general anaesthetic and without a health fund, can cost up to $800 per tooth. Most health funds provide a rebate, resulting in reduced out-of-pocket expenses.

ASK YOUR INEEDA DENTIST

1. Can antibiotics or a good antibacterial mouthwash treat the problem?
2. What are my anaesthesia options, and which option would you recommend? You may have more than one option. Knowing your options allows you to select the option that you feel the most comfortable with.
3. What is the expected length of the procedure and recovery?
4. What are the main risks in my case?
It is important to be aware of the potential risks for your particular case and the possible complications, such as sinus exposure and nerve damage.