Wisdom Tooth Tips: Why Do I Need To Remove My Wisdom Teeth

Definition and Emergence

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are typically the last set of teeth to develop and emerge in the mouth. These teeth usually make their appearance between the ages of 18 and 25. It’s common to have four wisdom teeth, but some individuals may have fewer or none at all. These teeth can sometimes be impacted, which means they’re unable to fully emerge through the gums due to lack of space or misalignment​.

Diagnosis and Assessment

Dentists assess wisdom teeth through visual examination and x-rays. X-rays allow dentists to see the positioning of the teeth beneath the gums, 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 wisdom teeth cause other teeth to become crooked. However, they can create a feeling of pressure as they push through the gums​

Cleaning Tips

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 wisdom teeth clean.

Impaction and Associated Problems

Impacted wisdom teeth, which cannot fully emerge, can lead to several issues such as infection, pain, cysts, and tooth decay. They may become partially visible in the mouth or remain entirely beneath the gum surface.

Extraction: Why and How?

Wisdom teeth may be extracted 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 wisdom teeth can entail risks such as nerve damage, dry socket, swelling, infection, and difficulty opening the mouth. The 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, and using ice packs to reduce swelling​.

Potential Complications If Untreated

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

Additional Treatment Options

Alternatives to extraction, like pain management with paracetamol, antibiotics, or a minor procedure to remove overlying gum tissue, may be considered in less severe cases.

Long-term Prognosis

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

Seeking Professional Advice

It’s advisable to consult with a dentist if you’re experiencing discomfort, difficulty in opening your jaw, or other symptoms related to wisdom teeth. Dental professionals can provide tailored advice and treatment options​3​​6​.

To find a qualified dentist in Australia for wisdom 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 wisdom teeth and addressing any issues promptly.

At Dentists In Annerley, QLD, Australia, we pride ourselves on setting the highest standard of patient care, ensuring an experience that fuses comfort with unmatched dental health services. Our clinic acts as an oasis for advanced periodontal treatments, performed with precision and a delicate touch to guarantee the best oral health outcomes for our patients. Centrally located for Annerley residents and those from surrounding suburbs, we invite individuals from Woolloongabba, Greenslopes, Fairfield, Yeronga, Moorooka, Tarragindi, Holland Park, West End, Highgate Hill, Dutton Park, Coorparoo, Carina Heights, Mount Gravatt, East Brisbane, and Stones Corner to partake in exceptional dental care. Our dedication to oral health is solid, with a personalized approach to periodontal care that is aimed at enhancing both the resilience and aesthetics of our patients’ smiles.

In the bustling environment of Annerley and its nearby areas, Dentists In Annerley emerges as a haven of dental health and well-being. We address a broad range of dental needs, from routine examinations and cleanings to emergency dental treatments, all the while utilizing modern CEREC technology for immediate ceramic restorations. Our broad suite of services spans root canal therapies, wisdom tooth extractions, and the creation of tailored veneers, crowns, and implants, in addition to specializing in periodontics, pediatric dentistry, and orthodontic aligners. Our facility is equipped with contemporary X-ray machinery, ensuring an expedient and accurate diagnostic and treatment journey. We have meticulously designed every aspect of our practice to optimize the efficiency, thoroughness, and comfort of your visit.

The guiding principle at Dentists In Annerley is the belief that exemplary dental care should be within reach for everyone. We are committed to offering a comprehensive variety of dental services that cater to the varied dental concerns of our patients. From preventive maintenance to the craftsmanship of cosmetic dentistry, and the detailed care required for complex dental treatments, our team at Dentists In Annerley is steadfast in their quest for dental excellence. This dedication is apparent in our gentle demeanor and the detailed attention we apply in each treatment, ensuring every patient leaves with a smile that is as radiant in appearance as it is in health.

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Frequently Ask Questions

Wisdom 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. However, some individuals may have fewer or none at all, and they are often impacted due to a lack of space in the jaw​.

The emergence of wisdom 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 wisdom 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​

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​.

The signs of wisdom 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​.

Wisdom 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​.

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​

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​.

It’s important to keep the area around emerging wisdom 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​.

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​.

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.

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.