Wisdom tooth (n)
[definition] a magic molar which gives you knowledge and wise thinking
Just kidding – wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are those molars at the very back of each row of our teeth. They usually grow out only when we are about 18 to 26 years old, so our jaws are often already filled with teeth and lack space for the wisdom teeth to grow out properly.
As a result, so many of our wisdom teeth do not grow out very well. They often erupt at an angle, or worse, horizontally and thus impacting other teeth. This leads to symptoms such as pain, headache, aching jaws, swollen gums, difficulty chewing food, etc.
Almost all of us are familiar with or have gone for wisdom tooth extraction at some point in our lives. Thus, it comes as no surprise that wisdom tooth extraction is one of the most common dental procedures in Singapore and all over the world.
In this guide, we will detail what to expect for your wisdom tooth surgery and extraction in Singapore. For those of you never experienced it, read on! We will be sharing what exactly will be going on pre- and post-op!
First, you will have to go for a dental consultation. An X-ray is probably needed!
This dental assessment is to allow your dentist to diagnose whether your wisdom tooth really needs to be removed. In general, your wisdom tooth should be removed only if it is causing you pain or if the dentist deems it necessary.
Depending on the position of your wisdom tooth, an X-ray is more often than not required. X-ray will helps the surgeon has to double check the position of the roots of wisdom tooth and if it is near any nerves inside your gum.
During your consultation, your dentist will also determine the complexity of your wisdom tooth op and let you know the cost accordingly.
The complexity of op will determine if it’s gonna be a wisdom tooth extraction or wisdom tooth surgery
The complexity of your wisdom tooth op depends on the position, shape and size of your wisdom tooth itself.
In general, wisdom tooth removals can be categorized into the following two types:
1. Wisdom tooth extraction
Some wisdom tooth can be done via a simple extraction, and can be performed by a dentist. The cost will be cheaper as compared to a wisdom tooth surgery.
2. Wisdom tooth surgery
This requires the wisdom tooth to be surgically removed, and will occur under sedation – either local or general anesthesia. This is because the surgeon will need to cut through gum tissue and/or bone to reach the tooth for removal. If an incision is required, stitches in the gum will be used to aid with healing.
Sometimes, a wisdom tooth operation is too complex for a dentist and they would call in an oral maxillofacial surgeon. Dentists are generally like GPs, and treat general oral health such as decayed teeth, fillings, simple extractions while oral maxillofacial surgeons are trained to do more complex oral surgery such as wisdom teeth surgery, dental implants, bone grafting etc.
Should I choose a dentist or oral maxillofacial surgeon for my wisdom tooth removal?
General dentists in Singapore are trained to do wisdom tooth extractions. For example, dentist graduates in NUS are required to do at least one case before they graduate.
However, as with any surgery, there is no replacement for experience. A surgeon who has done only a handful of wisdom teeth cases will be far less competent than one who has done hundreds or even thousands of wisdom teeth extractions.
If your wisdom tooth case is diagnoses as a simple extraction and you are concerned about cost, seeing a dentist for your wisdom tooth removal should suffice.
However, if your wisdom tooth case is complex and requires surgical removal, you may want to consider seeing an oral maxillofacial surgeon instead. If the dentist is unable to handle your case, not to worry as they often have partner oral maxillofacial surgeons whom they can call in to operate on you.
Should I go for a local anesthesia or general anesthesia?
Wisdom tooth extraction and surgery are usually done with local anesthesia, by injection into your gums. The cost of local anesthesia is also normally included in your surgery cost so you do not need to fork out an additional cost.
However, if you are extremely scared or squeamish and feel that you cannot handle pain, you may choose to opt for general anesthesia. Please bear in mind that it will cost an additional $800 to $1,000 to hire an anaesthetist to administer the full body sedation so that you will be unconscious during the procedure.
How much is a wisdom tooth removal in Singapore going to cost?
We broke down the total bill of your wisdom tooth extraction or surgery that you can expect to pay. These cost estimates assume that you will be opting for local anesthesia.
Wisdom tooth extraction
- Consultation – $100
- X-ray (if required) – $150
- Wisdom tooth extraction – $600 to $800
Wisdom tooth surgery
- Consultation – $100
- X-ray (if required) – $150
- CT Scan (if required) – $300
- Wisdom tooth surgery – $1,500
In general, wisdom tooth operations are also claimable by Medisave in Singapore. On average, you may claim up to $1,250 of the total bill for your wisdom tooth operation.
What to expect after my wisdom tooth is removed?
Some minor bleeding from the wound can be expected just after your wisdom teeth is removed and you will need to bite on a piece of cotton gauze. It is also normal to experience facial swelling and jaw stiffness for 2 to 3 days as you recover from your wisdom tooth operation.
This is the time when you would relish eating good food because you will need to keep to a diet of soft foods, e.g. mashed potato, ice-cream, etc. You will not be able to bite on solid foods for at least a week. So, do plan your meals accordingly!
In general, you are entitled to 5 days of MC. Also during the recovery period, it’s important that you get plenty of rest and drink lots of water. A lack of rest and water can lead to headaches and swelling of the gum. In other words, factor in five days of downtime for your wisdom tooth op and you’re good to go!
Cynthia has a soft spot for traditions and culture. For her, a good ol’ cup of kopi and kaya toast hits the spot better than any fancy café fare—with the sole exception of pancakes.