If you are feeling apprehensive about having your wisdom teeth extracted, you are not alone. The thought of going for a surgical treatment like wisdom teeth removal can make some people feel on edge. This is mostly due to the lack of proper information and knowledge about the treatment and procedure. In the interest of setting the record straight, let's look at what a wisdom tooth is, what extraction entails and whether apprehension is justified.
Known as third molars, wisdom teeth are in the back of your mouth on either the upper or lower jaw. They are typically the last teeth that emerge – when the patient is around 16 or 17. It is important that these four permanent teeth have room to grow, otherwise they would be jostling for the limited space on your jawbone and cause complications down the road. As a result, your wisdom tooth may grow in a slanted position, partially erupt or not erupt at all – getting stuck beneath the gums. When any of those things occur, you have what is known as an impacted wisdom tooth (see impacted wisdom teeth removal by Pure Dentistry).
What's the procedure like?
The dentist would first take an x-ray of your teeth, to identify how difficult the wisdom teeth extractions will be. This includes examining the position of the wisdom teeth, surrounding bone and tooth root structure. Depending on the patient's level of anxiety, dental clinics offers several options – all of which are designed to optimize patient comfort and minimize stress – including dental treatment under general anesthesia, which isn't offered in every Australian clinic.
Following the extraction, some excess tissue and or bone may need to be removed. Resorbable sutures may be used to help close the extracted tooth socket. To help maintain the blood clot forming in the socket, the patient would be asked to bite on moist gauze. In the first 36 to 48 hours after the procedure, patients should avoid smoking, sucking through straws or any activity that might temper with the blood clot.
In case of pain, you can take an over-the-counter painkiller purchased from your local pharmacies If gum swelling occurs, using an ice pack can help to suppress the effects. Drinking lots of water – avoiding alcoholic, caffeinated, carbonated or hot beverages – in the first 24 hours is highly encouraged.
Is there an ideal time to go for wisdom tooth extraction?
When it comes to wisdom teeth extraction, typically the younger the age of the patient, the lower the risk of complications. Statistically speaking, patients below their mid-twenties have much lower risks of complications and faster healing times. That is why dentists recommend the ages between teens to mid-twenties ideal for wisdom teeth extraction.
The problem with impacted teeth is that it may be years before an impacted tooth starts to cause problems. Some of the common problems are infections, cysts, crowding as well as damage to neighboring teeth. These can in turn lead to pain, swelling and stiffness of the jaw. In serious cases, you may damage bones, teeth, gums and surrounding molars that are critical for biting and chewing.
It is advisable to remove wisdom teeth before the third molar roots have fully developed and anchored into the jaw – which makes the removal process more difficult for both dentists and patients.
Not everyone has wisdom teeth and not every wisdom tooth needs to be extracted. Irrational fear often stems from not knowing what to expect. That is why it is important to get your teeth examined early by a dentist, with whom you will be able to discuss the root structure of your wisdom teeth, whether they are impacted and understand what to expect during your specific procedure.
For early detection and removal of Impacted Wisdom Tooth, book an appointment with our friendly Brisbane Dentist (Pure Dentistry) located in Upper Mt Gravett, Queensland – call (07) 3343 4869.