Wisdom teeth removal is probably not at the top of your to-do list if they are not causing you problems. People tend to think of their wisdom teeth as sort of the appendix of the mouth. Although they are there, there is no real reason for them; you can live your life just fine without them.
Unfortunately, for some people, wisdom teeth can be anything but a background feature. That is the reason why dentists often recommend that they be removed. Even if they are not currently causing you any problems, they can definitely do so in the future.
Here’s why you might want to consider having your wisdom teeth removed, and what you need to know in advance.
Why is it sometimes necessary to remove wisdom teeth?
Not everyone actually develops wisdom teeth, and they are not essential to your chewing ability. If you do get them, you will probably have four: two on top and two on bottom. These are the third set of molars that normally erupt, or emerge, through your gums in your late teens or early twenties.
In the past, our human ancestors had larger jaws to accommodate these extra teeth. Modern humans have smaller jaws, which can lead to problems when their wisdom teeth eventually emerge. This lack of space often leads to an impacted wisdom tooth that crowds neighbouring teeth. They can grow flat on their sides, erupt at a difficult angle, or become entrapped in the jawbone. This can lead to significant pain, damage to neighbouring teeth, and the development of cysts.
What happens during wisdom teeth removal?
Removing wisdom teeth involves oral surgery that begins with the administration of local anaesthesia to completely numb the area. You may receive either local anaesthesia or general anaesthesia. With a local, you are awake and do not feel any pain, however you may notice some pressure. With a general sedation, you are completely knocked out and won’t remember a thing. The type of anaesthesia that you receive depends upon the difficulty of your procedure and your comfort level with it.
After your anaesthesia has taken effect, your dentist or oral surgeon will disconnect connective tissue around your wisdom teeth using a special dental instrument. They will then remove the problem wisdom tooth. The last step involves stitching up the surgical site and the placement of gauze on the site to encourage wound healing.
What will my recovery be like?
Since you will be somewhat sedated after your wisdom teeth removal, it’s a good idea to arrange for someone to be there to drive you home.
There is normally some level of discomfort following an extraction. You may experience some soreness when the area is touched, for about one week. You may use over-the-counter pain relievers, or your dentist or oral surgeon may prescribe pain medication.
The key thing to remember after your wisdom teeth are removed is that you want the blood clot that will have formed in the socket of the extracted tooth to remain intact. So avoid disturbing the area as much as possible. Follow the instructions that you are given for replacing the gauze over the surgical site.
Most patients are able to return to work or other normal activities the following day. Just avoid vigorous physical activities that could dislodge the blood clot. And stick with eating soft foods for 24 hours after your procedure.
If you have painful wisdom teeth, or would like to know if yours are in good health, please contact us on 07 5591 3620.