Wisdom teeth, also known as the 3rd molars are sets of permanent teeth that grow at the back of your jaw. They typically emerge around the ages of 17-21 but some patients beyond this age group face complications nevertheless. Pain faced by wisdom teeth past young adulthood, is an indication to seek treatment that is long overdue.
Wisdom teeth serve no biological purpose and in some cases cause no complications at all. However, for the vast majority of us, wisdom teeth can cause a world of problems from mild discomfort to intense pain.
Risks involving prolonging wisdom tooth removal
For some people who make the mistake of not attending to their wisdom teeth and ignoring their nagging pain until their condition becomes severe, they face a variety of problems such as:
- Bad breath: occurs in some people who don’t remove their wisdom tooth/teeth, thus impacting their social life and self-esteem.
- Negatively impacted productivity levels: pain from your wisdom tooth can be distracting and may affect your ability to concentrate.
- Irritability: wisdom tooth pain can increase your irritability.
- Infections: oral bacterial infections known as pericoronitis may occur.
- Cysts: follicular cysts can form at the site of wisdom tooth impaction, and while not dangerous can be quite painful.
- Gum disease: wisdom teeth are in hard-to-reach places so it can be quite difficult to ensure that they are clean. This can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Contrary to popular belief, wisdom teeth by themselves will not cause crowding even if you have had braces removed. Whilst crowding is not a concern attributed to wisdom teeth growth, your second molars (next to the wisdom teeth) may be sufficiently damaged from the impact of putting off treatment followed by gum diseases that will subsequently create movement in your teeth alignment.
How much does it cost to remove wisdom teeth in Singapore?
The 2023 cost of removing wisdom teeth in Singapore differs on a case-by-case basis. There are subtle differences between removal, extraction, and wisdom teeth surgery. The treatment you require depends upon your condition’s severity and complexity. Below is the estimated cost at our clinic:
|Full mouth x-ray||$100|
|Wisdom tooth extraction||$100-$300|
|Surgical removal of impacted wisdom teeth||$650-$1500|
There are various financial options you may explore to afford these treatments. Apart from being MediSave accredited, we also accept dental insurance with direct claim, provide interest-free credit card insurance plans, and subsidiaries for CHAS/Pioneer Generation/Merdeka Generation. Click here to learn more about the financing options we have available.
Leaving wisdom teeth untreated due to financial concerns may be an action you have to resort to. However, if left untreated, your wisdom teeth may result in additional complications that will financially burden you further. The sooner you get yourself checked, the fewer complications you can anticipate.
What is the difference between tooth extraction, removal, and surgery?
It may be confusing trying to decipher whether you need a wisdom tooth extraction, removal, or surgery. Let me explain further.
An extraction happens when a wisdom tooth is stuck below the gum line (also known as an impacted tooth). Impacted teeth are notorious for causing issues such as infections or damage to surrounding teeth. Additionally, the term “surgery” could also be used interchangeably with extraction but usually involves more complex situations such as when dealing with a broken wisdom tooth.
Where an incision is required of the gum lines, the procedure is often referred to as wisdom tooth surgery. A wisdom tooth extraction, on the other hand, is usually a term used to address teeth that are fully erupted above the gum line and are causing issues such as decay. The procedure conducted will defer based on the elasticity of your jaw (age dependent), if you’re wearing braces, and other individualised concerns.
In general, for simplicity’s sake, the umbrella term “removal” is used. These distinctions, however, are the reason differences in cost occur. We would advise against self-diagnosing and allowing a medical professional to decide the most appropriate treatment.
Can I avoid a wisdom teeth removal procedure?
There are a lucky few who never require any form of medical intervention. These may be people whose wisdom teeth never grow in (potentially due to genetics and environmental factors, the cause is yet to be known). There are also others who go through life never feeling the pain of wisdom teeth growth and tend to have teeth that are fully erupted, accessible, and functional. However, these outliers are rarities and everyone else falling outside of these two groups should avoid dodging the inevitable.
I have dental fear/phobia and wisdom tooth removal terrifies me
Dental fear is a prevalent and common fear that haunts over half of the world's population, as reported by Dentavox. Your fear is more common than you think and not entirely baseless. Dental fear is usually rooted in a bad childhood experience or simply an aversion toward the feeling of having your mouth pried. Regardless of the cause, we can assure you that our doctors are trained to be emotionally supportive to ensure you’re as comfortable as you can be.
If it is the pain that is putting you off from treatment, local anaesthesia is often administered so the area will be completely numbed and you will feel virtually no pain at all. On the other hand, if it is the aftercare that is causing you hesitation, you will be given a medical exemption from work so you can get sufficient rest. The whole process is significantly shorter and more bearable than continuously living with the constant pain. Bringing a family or friend to your appointments could be helpful as well. All you need to do is to psych yourself up sufficiently and it will be over before you know it!
Signs and symptoms of wisdom tooth growth and requires treatment
- Gum irritation: your gums may feel particularly sore and inflamed. In some cases, even bleeding may occur. Sometimes, gum irritation can develop into Pericoronitis and cause extreme discomfort.
- Jaw pain: your jaw may feel unusually tight occasionally leading to lockjaw (also a symptom of Pericoronitis).
- Difficulty swallowing: by this stage, eating becomes a hassle and naturally, this would lead to a lack of appetite. You may also observe unintentional weight loss as a consequence.
- Swollen lymph nodes: the back of your ears may feel tender and in extreme cases, pain may be felt when consuming alcohol.
What can I do now while waiting for a wisdom tooth removal appointment?
To manage pain at home whilst awaiting treatment, you can do the following:
- Rinse your mouth with salt water or an oral mouthwash (particularly after eating).
- Drink peppermint tea or rub peppermint extract into the area.
- Apply ice therapy periodically.
- Consume aspirin or ibuprofen.
- Apply crushed turmeric or rinse with turmeric water.
We would like to remind readers that these are temporary solutions that can be practised to reduce discomfort and pain but not to permanently treat the issue at hand.
Wisdom tooth extraction recovery
Depending on the treatment, the recovery process differs and can take up to two weeks. We have noticed confusion regarding the recovery process as many patients tend to do things that worsen their recovery due to misguided perceptions. Here’s a guideline with a rationale on why you need to religiously practise the dos and don’ts.
Do rinse your mouth gently BUT don’t forcefully clean
Brushing the recovery site or over-rinsing will exacerbate your condition. Maintaining oral hygiene is pivotal in recovery but you should avoid the extraction site to allow complete healing to take place.
Use antiseptic mouthwash that will be prescribed as advised and go easy on the oral cleaning process for a while.
Daily activities are fine BUT avoid strenuous activities
Blood clots form at the extraction site during the recovery process and the goal is to avoid dislodging the clot as this will lead to excessive bleeding. Complications due to dislodgement of blood clots are also known as dry sockets (alveolar osteitis). Being active will encourage the dislodgement of blood clots.
Additionally, increased blood pressure from being active can cause excessive bleeding. Some patients may attempt to use their rest time to finish up overdue chores or work but this will interfere with your healing process.
Do eat soft foods BUT avoid using a straw
Often patients presume using a straw is a more gentle way of consuming liquid however this is completely counterproductive. The sucking motion required when using a straw will also dislodge the blood clot formed at the wisdom tooth extraction area.
The pressure of using a straw will reverse the healing process as a consequence. Soft food will prevent food debris from getting stuck between your teeth so consume soups and porridge with a spoon and try sticking to plain iced water or tea.
Do enjoy your time off BUT don’t overindulge
Your time off may bring relief, but often, also boredom. Many patients tend to smoke excessively and overindulge in drinking alcohol or carbonated drinks. The chemicals in cigarettes and vapes will lead to infections whilst the fizziness of carbonated drinks will irritate the blood clots.
Alcohol, on the other hand, slows the rate of healing. Food, drinks, and smoking are not subjects to overindulging during your healing. We advise binge-watching on Netflix instead.
If you’ve read this far, it’s likely you or someone you care for is troubled by wisdom teeth growth. Book an appointment with us to receive appropriate advice or you may click here to gather more information on the treatment.