Wisdom teeth present unique challenges and can severely compromise your overall oral health because of the nature and positioning this final set of molars.
Having these wisdom teeth removed is the best way to deal with developing complications. However, this procedure is a minor surgery and requires adequate healing and aftercare. If you’re experiencing wisdom tooth extraction pain, or want to learn more about what to expect, learn more about this procedure to help make your wisdom teeth removal as smooth as possible.
The Nature of Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth typically emerge between the ages of 17-25. Because wisdom teeth emerge in late adolescence/early adulthood, there is often not enough room in the jawbone to accommodate them. This can lead to problems if these third molars don’t emerge as correctly. This can take different forms: wisdom teeth may stay within the gum, they can emerge but don’t have the correct angle or placement, or they emerge successfully but affect adjacent teeth.
Ideally, wisdom teeth would simply emerge in the empty gum space at the very back of the mouth and not cause any problems, but this isn’t always the case. When a wisdom tooth gets stuck within the gum, this is called an impaction; this can be very uncomfortable and can lead to more serious health problems, such as an abscess or infection of the gum tissue known as pericoronitis.
Other common complications involve damage to other teeth, an increase in decay and cavities, and overcrowding. The only solution is wisdom teeth removal performed by a dental professional.
Having Your Wisdom Teeth Removed
If you want to avoid future issues or are currently experiencing complications from your wisdom teeth, having a wisdom tooth extraction can make an enormous difference and save you a lot of long-term discomfort.
Wisdom teeth removal may be unnecessary if they are not impacted, although the positioning of these teeth can make proper oral hygiene complicated.
A simple extraction for non-impacted teeth is performed using local anaesthetic. The procedure is quick and involves loosening the tooth in the socket, before extracting it with forceps.
If you have an impacted tooth, a complex extraction is required and must be performed under general anaesthesia. An incision is made in the gum tissue to expose the wisdom tooth, and the tooth may need to be sectioned for easier removal. The site is sutured with dissolvable stitches.
At Dentistry on Solent, we offer both these options plus a specialist option for nervous patients: conscious sedation, aka nitrous oxide. Each option allows you to experience a comfortable wisdom tooth extraction.
The length of a wisdom tooth removal procedure depends on how many teeth are being removed and the specific positioning of the teeth. Every case can be different and there is no set time, though on average it shouldn’t take longer than an hour to have wisdom teeth removed.
Managing Wisdom Tooth Extraction Pain
During a wisdom tooth extraction, you shouldn’t feel any discomfort. You’ll either be completely unconscious, numbed by local anesthetic, or use nitrous oxide to remain relaxed and stress-free. If you are conscious during an extraction and feel any discomfort, you can alert the dentist, and they can administer more local anesthetic.
After the procedure, most people experience minor discomfort, but you should expect the site to experience some localised swelling. It’s also common to experience minor bleeding during this initial stage.
It will take time for the extraction sites to heal. You should expect to feel significant improvements within the first few days, and all bleeding and any discomfort should be gone within the first seven days following your wisdom tooth extraction.
If you experience side effects from a wisdom tooth removal, there are specific things you can do to improve how you feel and speed up your recovery. Holding an ice pack intermittently to the cheek of the affected area to minimise swelling and inflammation. You can also take over-the-counter medications.
Your dentist will recommend that you avoid strenuous activity for 2-3 days following your surgery, rest with your head elevated to reduce facial swelling, and allow for proper drainage from the site. You will also need to eat a soft food diet consisting of nutrient-dense foods such as avocado, eggs, fruit smoothies, and warm soup, to support your recovery and reduce soft tissue irritation.
After 24 hours have passed, and the socket has formed a blood clot, you can rinse with warm salt water to address swelling and soreness. Avoid brushing directly around the area, but continue your oral health routine for the rest of your teeth, to reduce the buildup of plaque around the surgical site.
If you experience persistent bleeding, pus, fever, excessive and prolonged swelling, or extreme discomfort, you may have an infection. Call your dentist immediately for a follow-up consultation, as you may require antibiotics to manage the infection.
Dentistry on Solent is Here For You
Our team of highly skilled dentists are here to help you with all your dental needs. If you need your wisdom teeth removed or are experiencing wisdom tooth extraction pain, arrange an appointment to consult with one of our dentists and get the attention and guidance you need. Call (02) 9158 6137 today.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.