Wisdom Tooth Removal

Wisdom teeth are large molars that sit at the back of your mouth on your upper and lower jaw. They usually emerge between the ages of 17 to 24, with up to four wisdom teeth appearing. Some people never develop wisdom teeth, while others do, with very little fuss.

When wisdom teeth do not have enough space to grow they may begin to grow in the wrong direction. This lack of space causes to teeth to become ‘impacted’ which may then cause pain, swelling or infection. In these cases the teeth need to be removed.

What the symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth?

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a lot of pain and discomfort to people. They will often need to be removed. Common symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth include:

  • Intense pain and soreness in the mouth (possibly from the ear and/or throat)
  • Stiff jaw
  • mouth infections
  • Facial swelling or gum line swelling in the back of the mouth
  • General unwell feeling

Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?

Impacted wisdom teeth are prone to bacteria and plaque build-up. Wisdom teeth are difficult to keep clean, meaning that they can trigger problems such as cysts, tumours, infection and gum disease. Impacted wisdom teeth are intensely painful and can result in further orthodontic issues such as misaligned teeth or a ‘bad bite’.

At Pinjarra Dental, we assess each patient individually and recommend a suitable treatment based on their needs. We’ll advise you of any possible complications, risks or side effects associated with wisdom tooth removal.

If the wisdom tooth requires only a simple removal, your dentist will be able to complete the procedure under local anaesthetic or IV sedation. Local anaesthetic numbs the affected area, blocking the pain completely you are still awake. The procedure takes place in the dentist chair. For more difficult cases, your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon to be treated under general anaesthetic in a hospital. In this scenario, you will be asleep during the procedure.

How are wisdom teeth removed?

The severity of the impacted wisdom teeth will determine whether the removal procedure will be done in the dentist chair or in the hospital. In some cases, wisdom teeth are no different to extractions of any other teeth.

In both cases during the procedure, the wisdom tooth socket is widened by using an instrument and pair of forceps. The tooth is moved from side to side until loose enough to be removed entirely.

In cases where the tooth is deeply impacted, the dentist or oral surgeon makes an incision in the gums and may remove some bone around the affected area. Once removed, the incision is sealed with dissolvable stitches. The procedure can take up to an hour and a half.

Post-surgery recovery

You may experience effects of the anaesthetic post-surgery, we recommend you rest until the effects wear off. It is important you pre-arrange for someone to escort you home after the operation.

It is common for your mouth to feel numb for several hours after surgery. In the 24 hours that follow, we recommend that patients:

  • Do not touch the affected area with your tongue or hands
  • Do not chew on the affected area
  • Gently bite on gauze from time to time to stop spot bleeding and relieve pain
  • Do not ingest hot food or hot drinks
  • Do not vigorously rinse or swish water or mouthwash in your mouth as it may encourage the blood clot in the tooth socket to break away
  • Maintain good oral hygiene to reduce the risk of infection, however avoid brushing the affected area
  • Do not smoke or drink alcohol for up to 72 hours following surgery, as it may cause complications and delay healing
  • Eat soft foods and liquid, such as soups and smoothies until your jaw and teeth feel less tender and stiff
  • Do not drink through a straw as it can dislodge the blood clot

Your dentist will recommend pain killers for up to a week after surgery. During the first and second weeks after wisdom teeth removal surgery, it is common to experience bruising and facial swelling.

Bleeding is common for wisdom tooth removal surgery. Your dentist will advise you how to manage any bleeding that occurs.

If stiches have been used to secure the wound, they should dissolve within 10 days. It is important to understand that prescribed antibiotics may interfere with contraceptives or birth control medication.

Disclaimer: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.