Wisdom teeth extraction

When should wisdom teeth be removed?

Impacted wisdom toothWisdom teeth should be extracted if:

  • There is not sufficient room for them and they are partly or almost fully erupted.
  • They are growing in an incorrect direction that may cause movement or infection of neighbouring teeth (impacted – see picture).
  • They are causing infection to the surrounding tissues.
  • They are likely to cause damage to adjoining teeth.

Will I need sedation or any medications?

Wisdom teeth may be extracted under Local Anaesthetic if they are simple or single extraction. However, if there are multiple teeth or appear to be difficult surgical extraction, then General Anaesthetic in a General Hospital may be the best option.

An antibiotic may be indicated before or after extraction if infection is present.

How does the difficulty level vary?

The degree of difficulty in extracting wisdom teeth has to do with:

  • Shape of the roots – the roots may be curved, separate or splayed.
  • Degree of angle of wisdom teeth – this is the degree of impaction.
  • The amount of eruption – the more the tooth has erupted generally the easier the extraction
  • The age of patient – early extraction before full root formation is easier.   The younger the patient, the less dense the bone is and extraction is easier.

What is the procedure?

Prior to the extraction of any tooth:

  • A full and detailed medical history must be taken.
  • An x-ray must be taken to assess the shape of the tooth and its roots, its position in relation to adjoining anatomy (i.e. sinus and nerves) and adjoining teeth, presence of any infection or pathology.


If your wisdom teeth are not causing problems, it may be difficult to decide whether to have your wisdom teeth removed to prevent possible dental problems later in life.  Consider the following:

  • You may never have any problems with your wisdom teeth.
  • In younger people (late teens and early 20’s), the wisdom tooth’s roots are not fully developed and the jaw bone is not as dense, so it is easier to remove the tooth. The easier it is to remove the tooth, the easier your recovery is likely to be.
  • Most problems with wisdom teeth develop between the ages of 15 and 25 years.
  • If you are older than age 30, you have only a small risk of having problems with your wisdom teeth. Few people older than 30 develop problems that require removal of their wisdom teeth.