Wisdom Teeth Removal
It’s wise to get wisdom teeth surgery early
Wisdom teeth usually arrive during our adolescence, and just like teenagers, they can sometimes cause a little trouble!
Complications are commonplace with wisdom teeth; symptoms include failure to fully erupt through the gum bed, the teeth becoming impacted or causing other teeth to shift out of alignment.
Do your wisdom teeth need to be pulled out? Our blog article on wisdom teeth removal will tell you more.
To avoid persistent pain, the possibility of infections and teeth alignment issues your dentist may recommend a wisdom teeth removal procedure.
Not everyone will require surgical removal of wisdom teeth. If yours are causing you pain or you suspect you may have a wisdom tooth infection, a visit to your Dental Care Network dentist can quickly determine the problem.
Most people will first experience Oral Surgery as a result of Wisdom Tooth extraction in their late teens or early 20s.
As with any field of medical endeavour, oral surgeries are conducted by highly qualified and extensively trained specialists and like any surgery, recovery time will be needed and the results will vary from case to case.
It’s wise to address issues with your wisdom teeth early.
Learn more about Wisdom Teeth
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We start teething in our infancy and revisit the process in our late teens or early adult life, when our so called ‘wisdom” teeth emerge.
Wisdom teeth are an additional set of molars that generally arrive between the ages of 17-21 and are generally considered to be ‘vestigial’ or excess to requirement from an evolutionary perspective.
The anthropological view is that the third molars were used to provide the extra grinding power our ancestors needed break down predominantly raw, unprocessed food but this doesn’t explain why they arrive so long after childhood.
Put simply, oral hygiene is a relatively modern concept. Our ancestors were likely to lose teeth at an earlier age, so the arrival of an additional set of molars later in life may have evolved to assist survival.
Not everyone gets their wisdom teeth. In some people, only two will emerge, in others four. When wisdom teeth do erupt, they are located at the far back of the mandible (lower) and maxilla (upper) jaw.
Modern man has a much smaller jaw than our ancestors and this means there may not be enough room in the mouth to accommodate the wisdom teeth. They may fail to erupt or only partially erupt, which is sometimes referred to as having ‘impacted’ molars.
Partial eruption can leave the soft tissue around the tooth exposed to bacterial build up, crowding or movement of other teeth, the formation of cysts and more rarely, tumours.
In the first instance, teething often proves as painful for teens as it does for tots. The size of the wisdom teeth and the lack of room in the mouth mean it can sometimes take a long time for the teeth to come through.
Inflammation of the gums at the back of the jaw can make it painful to chew. There may be increased sensitivity to hot or cold and pressure on surrounding teeth can refer pain into other parts of the face and jaw, resulting in ear ache, headache and a sore throat.
As wisdom teeth are excess to requirement and their presence can cause complications, it is common for dentists to recommend the removal of wisdom teeth.
The cost for having wisdom teeth removed can vary between different areas and dental practitioners.
When making enquiries with a dentist, it is important find out more information than simply the cost. Find out their approach, what kind of x-rays they’ll take, and their approach to numbing the pain of the removal.
After wisdom teeth removal, you will need to take some care to ensure you recover smoothly. Here are some of the do’s and don’ts of wisdom teeth recovery, whether you have one, two, three or all four teeth removed.
Immediately following your surgery you will need to take special care not to disturb the surgical area. You should ensure you rest all day so your body can have a chance to heal. Ice should be applied to your face during the first 36 hours as this can reduce swelling.
Food and drink
Make sure you drink plenty of water after surgery, although it is best to avoid using a straw as this can dislodge the blood clot that would have formed in the socket. Although it is essential to remain hydrated, try to stick to water for the first 24 hours and avoid drinking alcoholic, caffeinated, carbonated or hot drinks.
It is important to eat after surgery, although you will need to stick to soft foods for at least the first 24 hours. Yoghurt, applesauce and mashed potatoes are all good options. Once you feel you can tolerate them, you can move on to semisoft foods. Hard, chewy, hot or spicy foods should be avoided as they can irritate the wound or become stuck in the socket.
Smoking and spitting
You should avoid smoking as this can slow healing and increase the chances of developing dry socket, which is a painful infection of the extraction socket. It is essential to avoid this in the first 24 hours at least – and longer, if possible.
Sucking on lollies or straws and spitting can also remove the blood clot essential to a good recovery, so you should take care to avoid these actions, too.
Cleaning your teeth
You will need to avoid cleaning your teeth at least for the first 24 hours. Don’t brush, rinse or spit. After the first 24 hours are over, you can gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water every two hours or so and after meals. Your salt water mix can be made by mixing half a teaspoon of salt into a cup of lukewarm water.
Your surgeon may give you a special mouthwash to use that will help to avoid infections. After the first 24 hours you can brush your teeth as normal, although you will need to be careful around the surgical wound site so you do not disturb any of the stitches or remove the blood clot.
Your oral surgeon or dentist will provide you with a prescription for pain medication, which can include over-the-counter pain medication such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. It is important you follow your dentist’s instructions about its use.
You may be given a course of antibiotics in order to prevent the development of an infection after wisdom teeth removal. It is essential to take these when required and to finish the entire course. Your dentist will be able to provide you with more information.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding with a surgical or invasive procedure, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Visit a dentist today and find out if your wisdom teeth need to be extracted.