Your wisdom teeth are your third set of molars. They sit right at the back of your mouth and they’re the last teeth to come through. Generally, people have 4 wisdom teeth, though some people may not have a full set. Some people actually have extra wisdom teeth.
Wisdom teeth normally start moving into position and breaking through your gums when you’re between 16 and 20 years old, though for some people they arrive later. If your jaw is wide enough and your dental hygiene is good, your wisdom teeth won’t need to be removed.
However, it’s common for one or more wisdom teeth to become stuck (impacted) as they try to come through, so you end up with pain and a risk of infection.
Impacted wisdom teeth put pressure on neighbouring teeth and can cause pain which may radiate up to your ear and down your throat.
Impacted wisdom teeth often become infected, causing red swollen gums and radiating pain. Infection can also cause bad breath, difficulty swallowing, bad taste in your mouth and generally feeling unwell. Severe infections can cause pus collections which can spread to lungs and heart and become life threatening.
Cyst formation is common around unerupted teeth. Cysts can displace teeth and cause damage to bone, gums and teeth.
Food can become trapped between your wisdom tooth and the neighbouring tooth and is difficult to remove. This can cause cavities in both teeth.
Sometimes a wisdom tooth grows out of your gum sideways, so it rubs against the inside of your cheek and can cause an ulcer.
If your wisdom teeth are infected, antibiotic treatment can help in the short term. However, the infection will most likely come back again. Sometimes these infections can become complicated and spread to your chest and heart. If you have other health problems, you’re more likely to experience complications from infected wisdom teeth.
Some wisdom teeth which have come completely through the gums and are easy to keep clean may not cause trouble and will not need removal.
When you’re young, your tooth roots aren’t fully formed and the surrounding bone is softer. This means you can expect faster healing and less postoperative discomfort.
Dr van Mourik performs wisdom tooth extraction at private hospital under general anaesthetic or in his private rooms under intravenous (IV) sedation and/or local anaesthetic.
Dr van Mourik will discuss the options with you and the choice of venue will depend on the number of teeth to be removed, the difficulty of the surgery, your general health and your personal preference.
Some dental practitioners employ a nurse sedationist to perform IV sedation. For safety reasons, Dr van Mourik always uses an anaesthetist who is a specially trained medical doctor.
The procedure to remove a full set of wisdom teeth can take 15 to 45 minutes depending on the complexity of the surgery. Dr van Mourik will first make an incision in your gum. A small portion of bone may be removed, and the tooth may be divided into pieces to make it easier to remove.
Extracting wisdom teeth is trickier than extracting other teeth because they’re at the back of your mouth and access is limited. Major arteries and nerves lie right next to your lower wisdom teeth. The surgery is carefully designed to minimise the amount of trauma to the jaw bone and risk of injury to nearby nerves, blood vessels and other teeth.
Day surgery: If you’ve general anaesthetic or intravenous sedation you will require someone to assist you get home. If done under local anaesthetic you can drive home yourself.
Pain management: Normal painkillers such as Nurofen® and Panadol® are usually all you’ll need. An icepack can help reduce any swelling or pain.
Work/School: Most people return to work 1 to 4 days after surgery, while a few have to take 1 to 2 weeks off. This will depend on the number of wisdom teeth being extracted, the extent of the surgery and your general health.
Stitches: Disolving stitches are used in most cases. They gradually dissolve over 1 to 2 weeks.
Diet: Soft food diet for 3 to 4 days after surgery. By 1 to 2 weeks after surgery you’ll most likely be eating and drinking normally.
Follow up: Dr van Mourik will want to see you after your surgery to monitor your healing.
Dr Van Mourik will give you detailed post-operative instructions during your initial consultation. To maximise your chance of making a quick recovery without complications, please pay careful attention to these instructions. General information can be found on the Post-op and Patient Care page.
It’s unusual to have complications if you get a skilled oral and maxillofacial surgeon to remove your wisdom teeth.
Wisdom tooth extraction, like all surgeries does have some potential risks and complications:
Medicare will reimburse you for part of your initial consultation.
Dr van Mourik will give you a written quote for the cost of your wisdom tooth extraction surgery at the initial consultation. We’ll help you make applicable Medicare and private health insurance claims so that you’ll know how much of the cost will be covered.
If an anaesthetist is involved, we’ll give you contact details for the anaesthetist so you can obtain their fee schedule. Medicare and private health insurance will cover part of the anaesthetist’s costs.
Widest scope of treatment options
Only specialist oral and maxillofacial surgeons can provide the full scope and widest options of both in-rooms and hospital-based dental implant procedures.
Surgery is performed to highest technical standard
They have the highest level of training and skills for oral surgery, this leads to better quality surgery. They can confidently perform more complicated surgeries such as those involving bone grafts.
Appropriately manage your medical conditions with a decreased chance of complications
Because oral and maxillofacial surgeons have medical training, they can manage your other medical conditions and medications to decrease risk. If a complication does occur, they have the skills to manage it.
Because Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons are medically trained, they only operate under hospital grade sterilisation protocol (carried out in accordance with AS/NZS 4815:2006 standard).
Only use specialist anaesthetists
When intravenous sedation or general anaesthetic is required, they always use specialist anaesthetists.
Dr van Mourik is a highly experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon. He explains things clearly and he’s a good listener, so do ask him questions about your wisdom teeth and tell him about any concerns you have — he’ll take the time to answer and manage your concerns sensitively.