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Wisdom Teeth

Understanding Wisdom Teeth

Definition and Emergence

The last set of teeth to develop and emerge in the mouth is the wisdom teeth, or third molars. For instance, these teeth usually make their appearance between the ages of 18 and 25. Furthermore, it’s common to have four of these teeth, but some individuals may have fewer or none at all. 

Diagnosis and Assessment

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

Cleaning Tips

Certainly, 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 these teeth clean.

Impaction and Associated Problems

However, 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?

If teeth are impacted, challenging to clean, prone to frequent infections, or pose a risk of decay or gum disease, dentists may extract them. Likewise, a general dentist or a specialist can perform the procedure using local or general anesthesia.

Risks and Complications

Removing wisdom teeth can entail risks such as nerve damage, dry socket, swelling, infection, and difficulty opening the mouth. For instance, this 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. in addition, using ice packs to reduce swelling.

Potential Complications If Untreated

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

Additional Treatment Options

There are alternatives to extraction. For example, pain management with paracetamol, antibiotics, or a minor procedure. These are to remove overlying gum tissue, may be considered in less severe cases.

Long-term Prognosis

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

Seeking Professional Advice

Thus, it’s advisable to consult with a dentist if you’re experiencing discomfort. Also, if you have difficulty in opening your jaw, or other symptoms related to these teeth. Dental professionals can provide tailored advice and treatment options.

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


At Genesis Dentists in North Melbourne, VIC, Australia, We dedicate ourselves to delivering an exceptional standard of patient care, epitomizing both comfort and excellence in dental health practices. Our clinic stands as a retreat for sophisticated periodontal treatments, provided with exactitude and a gentle touch, assuring optimal oral health for every patient. Strategically positioned for the convenience of North Melbourne residents and those from neighboring suburbs, we extend a warm invitation to individuals from Carlton, Fitzroy, Brunswick, Parkville, West Melbourne, Docklands, Flemington, Kensington, Ascot Vale, Moonee Ponds, Essendon, Coburg, Footscray, Yarraville, and Pascoe Vale to discover premier dental care. Dental crowns are also an option for more extensive decay.

In the vibrant vicinity of North Melbourne and its surrounding communities, Genesis Dentists stands as a cornerstone of complete dental health. We cater to a spectrum of dental needs from routine check-ups and professional cleanings to prompt emergency dental services, empowered by the latest CEREC technology for on-the-spot ceramic restorations. Our all-encompassing services stretch to include root canal therapies, wisdom tooth removals, and the crafting of bespoke veneers, crowns, and implants, along with expertise in periodontics, pediatric dentistry, and orthodontic aligners. With advanced X-ray facilities onsite, we guarantee a quick and precise diagnostic and treatment regimen. We gear every facet of our practice towards ensuring that your visit is efficient.


The philosophy guiding Genesis Dentists is anchored in the principle that high-caliber dental care is a universal right. We actively devote ourselves to providing an extensive range of dental services that cater to the diverse dental needs of our patients. We reflect our commitment through our compassionate approach and scrupulous attention to detail in every treatment, ensuring that we not only create visually stunning smiles but also promote exceptional health for each patient who leaves with a smile.


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.  

The emergence of these 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 of these 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.

These teeth are not essential for oral health. 

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​.

The gums experience inflammation, known as pericoronitis, particularly when the teeth are partially emerged.

It’s important to keep the area around emerging 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. 

Dentists often remove these teeth if the teeth are impacted, difficult to clean, cause recurrent infections, or if a cyst or tumor has formed around the tooth.

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​.

To promote the healing process, it is recommended to actively rinse your mouth with warm salt water at least 5-6 times a day, particularly after meals.

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​.

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.

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.

Yes, especially the upper part of these 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​.

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​.

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