27 July 2022
Although we no longer need wisdom teeth, we still get them, and they can cause multiple problems because most of us don’t have room in our mouth for this third and final set of molars.
Wisdom teeth may grow in at a skewed angle, stay buried in the gum, or only partially emerge, resulting in painful complications such as tooth decay, gum infection, a cyst or abscess.
This is why dentists take out wisdom teeth as a precautionary measure as well as to deal with immediate issues.
However, lack of understanding about wisdom teeth removal can trigger unnecessary worries about the process.
In this post, you’ll find out what you need to know about preparing for wisdom teeth extraction, the procedure itself, and how you can take steps to help ensure a more comfortable recovery.
You won’t just walk into a dental clinic and have your wisdom teeth extracted on the spot. Days or weeks ahead, your dentist will discuss the procedure with you, and address any questions or concerns you may have.
They’ll also want to know whether you have any general health issues and what medications you may be taking.
Your dentist will also explain anaesthesia options:
- Local anaesthetic to numb your mouth. You’ll be awake during the procedure. You shouldn’t experience pain but you’ll feel some pressure.
- General anaesthesia for more complicated, surgical extractions. You’ll be unconscious during the procedure.
Sedation can be used with local anaesthesia to help keep you comfortable and relaxed.
Wisdom teeth removal is usually straightforward when the teeth are above the gum line. It may take just a few minutes, and healing is generally fast. With a routine wisdom tooth extraction, the tooth is loosened with a lifter or elevator and pulled out with forceps.
However, if a tooth is embedded within the gum, it will be necessary to cut into the gum and possibly drill out some bone in the jaw. The tooth may have to be removed one piece at a time. The area will be stitched shut afterwards and a dressing may be applied to control bleeding.
If you have a general anaesthetic for your wisdom teeth extraction, you’ll need someone to take you home afterwards.
If you’ve had a local anaesthetic, you may be able to drive yourself home to begin your recovery, or even resume normal activities immediately.
You may experience mild discomfort and swelling during the first few days of healing. You can manage this with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, or with medication prescribed by your dentist.
To help ensure a smooth recovery, you should:
- Hold an ice pack to your face to reduce swelling and pain.
- Stick to soft foods.
- Drink plenty of water.
Don’t brush your teeth the same day after the extraction, and don’t drink through a straw, which can disturb blood clots that help the healing process.
If you’d like to know more about what to expect before, during and after wisdom teeth removal, Wisdom Teeth Sydney will be happy to answer all your questions. Call us on (02) 8045 5139.