Many people have wisdom teeth removed to prevent future issues. Here’s more information on why it happens and what to expect during and after the procedure.
Your wisdom teeth typically grow between the ages of 17 and 21. While some people will never have an issue with them, others will need to have them removed.
Why do people need to have wisdom teeth removed?
Dentists sometimes recommend you have your wisdom teeth removed, either to stop current problems or prevent future ones. It’s common for wisdom teeth to grow into your mouth in a way that may cause discomfort or problems for other parts of your mouth.
For example, if your mouth and jaw are too small to accommodate the new teeth, they may not be able to break through the gum – when this happens, the teeth become impacted. An impacted tooth can lead to infections and other problems. Another potential issue is that the wisdom tooth may be growing at an angle that can push against other teeth, causing overcrowding and pain.
When your dentist takes x-rays of your jaw during your mid-teens, they’ll be able to tell you if it looks like your wisdom teeth may become an issue. If that’s the case, they will then discuss options for removal.
How does the dentist or oral surgeon remove the wisdom teeth?
In many cases, wisdom tooth removal will be a similar procedure to that of any other tooth extraction. The dentist or oral surgeon will numb the area with local anaesthetic before starting work.
If you have more than one tooth to be removed, or if the surgery is in any way complicated (for example, if the teeth are already impacted and infected), you may be given a general anaesthetic. This will put you to sleep for the duration of the surgery. In this case, you won’t feel anything during the procedure and will wake up after it’s finished.
Once the tooth or teeth have been removed, the surgeon will use stitches to help the wound heal. Many professionals use dissolvable stitches that naturally disappear after a few days, while others may use stitches that need to be removed. Your dental professional will advise you on which type you have.
What do I do after I’ve had wisdom tooth removal?
Directly after the surgery, you will need to rest and take it easy until the effects of the anaesthetic have worn off. If you have had a general, you will need someone to drive you home afterwards.
It’s likely that any wounds will continue to bleed for a little while, so your dentist will leave cotton pads in your mouth. Once you remove these pads, it’s important to avoid chewing with that area or touching it with your fingers or tongue. At this stage, it’s best to simply let it heal. This includes brushing your teeth; even though it’s important to continue good oral hygiene practices on the rest of your teeth, you don’t want to risk opening the wound or pulling the stitches out with a brush.
You may experience swelling or bruising around your jawline after the surgery. To help with this, you can gently place ice packs against your cheeks. In case of pain in the days following, your dentist may also suggest anti-inflammatory painkillers to ease any discomfort. However, you generally won’t need anything stronger than what you can purchase over the counter.
If bleeding persists for more than 24 hours or another issue occurs, talk to your dentist. They’ll fully brief you on what to expect before and after the surgery, so be sure to follow any instructions for the fastest possible recovery.
Our team at Palmerston Dental Surgery are happy to answer any questions you have about wisdom teeth removal, contact us today on 08 8932 1544.