Your wisdom teeth are your final set of molars which tend to erupt in your late teens or early twenties. Many people need to have wisdom teeth surgery to remove theirs, often because the jaw is too small or because the wisdom teeth present with problems that may affect the other teeth in your mouth. Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect from extraction surgery and how to best prepare.
What Problems Can Present With Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth surgery should only be performed if your wisdom teeth are problematic- which is not the case for everyone. This is generally because the teeth are not positioned correctly in the mouth or cause pain. Sometimes the wisdom teeth do not erupt fully, and stay partially hidden under the gum, which can lead to infection. It’s also possible for wisdoms to over erupt and grow too long.
The common reasons for having them removed include:
- The formation of a cyst
- Gum infection
- This can be because of recurring infection or a single, severe infection.
- Problems with orthodontics – such as crowding
- Sometimes a wisdom tooth can emerge at an angle that makes it difficult to clean. At other times it might be necessary to remove them in order to create more space in the jaw.
- Tooth decay of the wisdom tooth or adjacent teeth.
- Pain in the mouth or jaw because of pressure from the wisdom tooth.
What To Expect From Wisdom Teeth Surgery?
Your jaw should be routinely examined every time you go for a dental check up.
When it is time for your wisdom teeth to start coming through your dentist is likely to take an x-ray to see what position they are laying in and when they might erupt. Your dentist will evaluate the size of your jaw and teeth as well as the position and condition of your adjacent teeth.
If it seems as though they might be problematic, he or she may advocate to remove them before they cause any problems.
It is often convenient to remove them all at once, but they do not always erupt together and you may end up having one wisdom tooth taken out before the others.
Early removal may save you from complications and inconvenience in the future.
How Long Does Wisdom Tooth Extraction Take?
The procedure may take up to two hours, depending on the number of teeth to be removed, and the level of complexity.
What To Expect From Wisdom Teeth Surgery?
Your dentist will numb the area around your wisdom tooth using local anaesthetic. It can happen but it is quite unusual for general anaesthesia to be used unless your dental practitioner anticipates complications. In the majority of cases, the patient is awake and does not experience pain. Some dentists may administer happy gas or nitrous oxide to help you relax if you feel particularly anxious. You can discuss the type of anaesthesia to be used and ask your dentist how best to prepare – for example, if you are having general anaesthetic, you should not eat or drink for a few hours prior.
Once the area is completely numb your dentist will check the position of the wisdom tooth on the x ray. He or she will cut through any gum that might be in the way, if the tooth has not fully erupted. Then the tooth will be extracted. If it is very large or difficult to remove it might be necessary to cut it into smaller pieces or divided up using a dental drill. If the site is large it might be necessary to have a stitch or two to close it up, but many patients don’t need this. Lower wisdom teeth tend to take longer to extract than those in the upper jaw.
Once the wisdom tooth has been extracted you will be given a piece of gauze to bite down on. The pressure from your bite will curb the bleeding, although you can expect to bleed a little from the site afterwards. When the gauze is saturated, you will swap it for another piece.
If you have had local anaesthetic you will be able to drive yourself home, but if you had general anaesthesia, you should arrange for someone else to collect you.
Post Operative Care
It’s important that you get enough rest so you can recover quickly. Your dentist will advise you not to touch the site with your fingers or tongue, as you could introduce bacteria and cause an infection. After the first 24-hours you will rinse your mouth with a saline solution to clean it.
You should eat and drink to give yourself the necessary nutrients for healing and recovery but you will want to have soft foods, which are more comfortable. You will also avoid hot and cold beverages, and drink out of a straw for the first day or two so that you do not dislodge the blood clot that formed where your wisdom tooth was removed. If you do, it can cause an extremely painful condition called dry socket.
Do you have questions or concerns about wisdom teeth surgery? It’s always best to speak to a professional. Please contact us for an appointment:
Phone: (02) 9158 6213
Pyrmont NSW 2009
Phone: (02) 9158 6756
Illawong, NSW 2234
Phone: (02) 9159 6083
Sylvania Waters NSW 2224