Here, our Yarmouth dentists explain the issues wisdom teeth are capable of causing in your smile, the benefits of wisdom tooth removal, what the procedure involves, and how this dental surgery can help to alleviate pain or discomfort.
What are wisdom teeth?
Between the ages of 17 and 25, most people develop a third set of molars that can be a valuable asset if they grow in straight and healthy. However, these teeth are sometimes misaligned or impacted, and require removal.
We can help to prevent issues affecting your oral health in the future through the removal of problematic wisdom teeth.
What problems can wisdom teeth cause?
If wisdom teeth emerge in the wrong positions or there simply isn't enough room for them to fit into your smile, they may become crowded, may not erupt fully or may become impacted. This may cause issues for your oral health since they are impossible to clean while below your gum line. If your wisdom teeth become crowded or misaligned, it can be quite difficult to reach them with a toothbrush and floss properly.
They can also cause:
- Bad breath
- Infection (which leads to pain)
- Difficulty chewing, biting or opening your mouth
- Swelling in your jaw or face (potentially due to infection)
- In emergency situations: chest pain, lightheadedness, shortness of breath
At SouthWest Dental, we advise taking a preventive approach to removing wisdom teeth, since molars (especially third molars) are more vulnerable to dental problems than other teeth in your mouth.
What are the benefits of having problematic wisdom teeth removed?
Having your wisdom teeth removed can offer many benefits, including:
- Improving oral health
- Preventing infection or decay
- Solving issues with bad breath
- Preventing damage to other teeth
- Alleviating or lessening pain in your face and mouth
- Preventing the need for further dental or orthodontic work in the future
How will I feel better after having my wisdom teeth removed?
There are a number of oral health benefits to having your wisdom teeth removed. The procedure is very common and you should be eating normally again within a couple of days. Having this procedure performed as soon as you can may also save you from further pain and discomfort because of impacted wisdom teeth or other issues.
You may also save time and money, as you may not need more time-consuming and costly dental or orthodontic work in years to come, thanks to eliminating the complications wisdom teeth can bring.
What does a wisdom teeth removal procedure involve?
Step 1: Anesthetic
Firstly, a local anesthetic will be used to numb the tooth and the areas surrounding it. If you are anxious about your procedure, your dentist or dental surgeon may provide a sedative to help you to relax, either through an injection in your arm, inhaled gas, or an oral sedative.
General anesthetic is rarely used - only in instances where the procedure is completed in a hospital.
Step 2: Removing the Tooth
If the tooth is still under the gum, a small incision or cut will be made and a tiny piece of the bone over top of the tooth may also be removed. Your dentist or surgeon may cut the tooth into smaller parts so it’s easier to remove through the opening.
If the tooth has emerged through the gum, there will be less need for an incision. Just before the tooth is removed, you’ll feel some pressure as the dentist or surgeon rocks the tooth back and forth, widening the socket, before the tooth is removed.
As your wisdom teeth are actually removed, you shouldn’t feel any pain as the anesthetic will have numbed the area. If this is painful for you, let the dentist or surgeon know so they can provide more anesthetic.
Simple wisdom teeth removal procedures can take up to 20 minutes, with complex procedures running longer.
What about recovery from wisdom teeth removal?
You should be able to go home the same day as your procedure. Dissolving stitches usually take between 7 and 10 days to dissolve, and a piece of gauze may be applied to the extraction site.
You’ll be asked to keep pressure on it by biting your jaws together for about an hour. This allows the blood clot to form within the empty socket, which encourages the healing process. You may be prescribed antibiotics for infection.
For 24 hours after your procedure, you should avoid:
- Drinking hot liquids such as coffee or soup
- Rinsing your mouth out with liquid (which could dislodge the clot)
- Smoking or drinking alcohol (which could result in infection)
- Strenuous physical activity (which may encourage bleeding)
If you notice any problems or extreme soreness after your recovery period, book an appointment with your dentist so they can check the extraction site.