For many who are well into adulthood now, having wisdom teeth removed during adolescence was a typical rite of passage.
Though the removal of wisdom teeth while young is a relatively common practice, few know why that is, or what the potential consequences are of waiting to your wisdom teeth removed can be.
At A Supa Smile, we are experts in all things “wisdom” and have the knowledge and tools to ensure the health of your wisdom teeth.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that most people get in their late teens or early twenties. 65% of us eventually have them and 85% of those eventually need removal.
When wisdom teeth are misaligned, they may come in horizontally, be angled toward or away from the second molars, or be angled inward or outward. In any of these cases, incorrect alignment of wisdom teeth can crowd or damage adjacent teeth, the jawbone, and nerves.
Wisdom teeth can also be impacted. Impacted is when wisdom teeth remain within the soft tissue and/or the jawbone or only partially erupt through the gum. Partial eruption increases the chance of infection, decay, and gum disease
Why Extract Wisdom Teeth?
When is extraction of wisdom tooth really needed?
- If the wisdom teeth fail to completely erupt
- If they are positioned in an unusual manner, such as sideways or protruding into the next tooth
- If food is becoming trapped around the wisdom tooth, causing infection
- If you’re not able to brush the wisdom tooth properly
When is extraction of wisdom teeth not necessary?
If the wisdom teeth area:
- Fully grown into the regular shape
- If they are positioned properly and don’t interrupt the biting process
- If they are accessible to bristles while brushing
- Most importantly, if wisdom teeth don’t cause any pain
What is the Extraction Process?
Step 1: As a part of routine check-up for diagnosis of wisdom tooth pain, you may undergo a general examination and an X-ray examination.
Step 2: If extraction is required, your dentist will inject a local or a general anesthesia to create numbness in the area of the mouth where the wisdom tooth extraction incision has to be made.
If anaesthetics are needed you will be instructed to fast for at least 12 hours before the surgery.
Step 3: If the wisdom tooth is impacted within the bone, a deep incision is made to access the impacted tooth.
Step 4: Your dentist will gently loosen the wisdom tooth from surrounding connective tissues and bone.
Step 5: The tooth may be broken into small pieces and removed.
Step 6: After tooth removal, the depression caused by the extraction is covered up and stitched.
Step 7: A small gauzed cotton swab is placed on the operated area to stop further bleeding.
What To Expect After Extraction
In most cases, the recovery period lasts only a few days. Take painkillers as prescribed by your dentist or oral surgeon. The following tips will help speed your recovery.
- Bite gently on the gauze pad periodically, and change pads as they become soaked with blood. Call your dentist or oral surgeon if you still have bleeding 24 hours after your surgery.
- While your mouth is numb, be careful not to bite the inside of your cheek or lip, or your tongue. Definitely do not attempt to eat while still numb.
- Do not lie flat. This may prolong bleeding. Prop up your head with pillows.
- Try using an ice pack on the outside of your cheek. You can use moist heat-such as a washcloth soaked in warm water and wrung out-for the following 2 or 3 days.
- Relax after surgery. Physical activity may increase bleeding.
- Eat soft foods, such as gelatin, pudding, or a thin soup. Add solid foods to your diet as healing progresses.
- Do not use a straw for the first few days.
- After the first day, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times a day to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
- Do not smoke for at least 24 hours after your surgery.
- Continue to brush your teeth and tongue carefully.
- Your dentist will remove the stitches after a few days, if non-dissolving stitches are used.
Not ALL Wisdom Teeth Need Extraction
Even if wisdom teeth do not need extraction, they do need an extra bit of care, because they are a bit difficult to reach. So, check with us at A Supa Smile to make sure you are brushing and flossing them efficiently. And, of course, visit us for regular cleaning!
Your Trusted Dentist in Croydon
A Supa Smile is conveniently located just off of the Maroondah Highway with public transport nearby. For working patients we are open from Mondays to Saturdays, morning until evening. Emergency dental treatment is also available!