Wisdom Tooth Removal
Wisdom teeth usually emerge from the ages of 17 to 24. Up to four wisdom teeth may appear (one in each back corner of the mouth) however some people may have less or none at all. For many people wisdom teeth will cause no issue at all but for some the teeth may grow in the wrong direction due to a lack of space. This lack of space causes the tooth to become ‘impacted’ which may then cause pain, swelling or infection. In these cases the tooth needs to be removed.
Here at HR Hocking Dental Surgery we believe it is important to assess each patient individually and base their treatment on their personal needs. If the wisdom tooth removal is relatively simple your dentist will be able to complete the procedure under local anaesthetic. This numbs the area and blocks the pain completely but you are still awake. For more difficult cases you may need to be referred to an oral surgeon and be treated under general anaesthetic. In this instance you will be asleep during the procedure.
What happens during wisdom teeth removal?
The procedure for removing wisdom teeth differs from person to person and depends on how deeply impacted the teeth are. In most cases the tooth will be able to be removed just like a normal molar and should only take a couple of minutes. If the tooth is more deeply impacted, the dentist or oral surgeon will need to cut through the gums and possibly remove some jawbone to be able to reach the tooth. Once the tooth is removed the wound will be closed with dissolvable stitches if necessary.
Post procedure recovery
Most people recover from the procedure within a few days. During this time, you may experience swelling and some pain which can be helped with painkillers that your dentist will prescribe. Here are some other things to keep in mind for a speedy recovery:
- After surgery, gently bite into a gauze pad or folded up handkerchief periodically to soak up any blood. If the area is still bleeding after 24 hours is it important to contact your dentist.
- Your mouth will still be numb for a few hours so it is important to be careful to not bite the insides of your mouth, your tongue or lips. It is also a good idea to avoid any hot food or drinks to prevent any potential burns.
- To help reduce swelling, apply an ice pack to the outside of your cheek for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
- Avoid lying flat on your back as this may prolong bleeding. Prop your head up with pillows.
- Try to only eat soft foods like jelly, soup and yogurt for the first few days and slowly introduce solids back into your diet.
- During the first 24 hours avoid vigorously rinsing out your mouth as this can affect the blood clots. After this time, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water.
- Do not use a straw for the first few days as sucking on a straw can loosen the blood clot which will delay healing.
- It is essential that you do not smoke for at least 24 hours after surgery, and preferably not until you are fully healed as this may also loosen the blood clot.
- Brush and floss your teeth as normal but avoid the area around the healing wound for the first couple of days.
If you are experiencing pain that you believe may be caused by your wisdom teeth please call our friendly receptionists on (02) 9534 3481 to book a consultation.
Disclaimer: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.