Third Molar Surgery - "Wisdom Teeth"

About half of the Australian population will have their third molars extracted during their lifetime. This makes the removal of wisdom teeth one of the most common operations performed in Australia each year.

Wisdom teeth removal can range from relatively straight forward to very difficult. Wisdom teeth are usually the last teeth to erupt into the mouth, usually erupting between the ages of 16 to 25 years. Wisdom teeth are commonly impacted, meaning there is not enough room left in the jaw bones to accommodate their eruption into a functional position. Often, they remain partially erupted and impacted on a variety of angles and are usually left partially covered by a flap of gum known as an operculum.

Common reasons to consider the removal of third molars are:

  • Pericoronitis – painful inflammation and infection of the operculum (overlying flap of gum).
  • Dental caries on third molars due to the difficulty of removing plaque from them.
  • Plaque accumulation and decay of adjacent teeth.
  • At the request of a specialist orthodontist prior to placing orthodontic banding.
  • Prophylactic removal (as may be required by the Australian Armed Forces pre-deployment).

Dr O’Leary is trained and experienced in the surgical removal of third molars.

Dr O’Leary performs surgical removal of around 70% of cases which present at TOOTH32, under Local Anaesthetic and Relative Analgesia (RA). He refers about 30% of cases to an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon for management. Referred cases tend to be:

  • The extremely challenging impactions.
  • When treatment under Intravenous Sedation is indicated.
  • When treatment in a hospital setting under General Anaesthetic is preferred.