Wisdom Teeth

Why remove Wisdom Teeth?

When wisdom teeth come in, a number of problems can occur:

  1. Your jaw may be too small for them, leading to their becoming impacted and incapable of breaking through your gums.
  2. Sometimes wisdom teeth may only break partway through the gums, causing a flap of gum tissue to grow over them. This results in food and germs getting trapped under the flap leading to infection and swelling in the gum.
  3. Impacted teeth can infect and damage other teeth and bone.
  4. Sometimes your wisdom teeth may come in at an angle, with the top of the tooth facing sideways, backward or forward. This is called an impaction.

The video below shows some of the problems that may arise with your wisdom teeth.

When any of these problems occur we recommend extraction of your wisdom teeth. This not only corrects an actual problem but also prevents problems that may come up in the future.

While we normally do the procedure in our clinic, we sometimes refer you for surgery in a hospital, especially if you are having all your wisdom teeth pulled at one time or if we determine that you are at high risk for complications.

We normally delay extraction if you have any infections, until the infection has cleared up. In such instances we may prescribe antibiotics to help heal the infection.

How we remove your Wisdom Teeth?

The video below shows how a wisdom tooth is removed.

The procedure to remove your wisdom tooth is fairly straightforward and we do it in four simple steps

  1. You are given a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed
  2. To remove the wisdom tooth, we then open up the gum tissue over the tooth and take out any bone that is covering the tooth.
  3. We separate the tissue connecting the tooth to the bone and then remove the tooth.
  4. Sometimes we may cut the tooth into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove.
  5. After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. Some stitches dissolve over time and some have to be removed after a few days.

Sometimes you many experience minor bleeding after the surgery. This may last as long as 24 hours. However if you still have bleeding 24 hours after your surgery please call us.

What to expect after surgery?

After a wisdom tooth is removed, you may experience:

  • Numbness in your mouth and lips after the local anesthetic wears off, due to injury or inflammation of nerves in the jaw
  • Sensitivity and swelling in your gums and tooth socket where the tooth was removed.
  • Bleeding that won’t stop for about 24 hours.
  • Difficulty in opening your jaw.

In most cases, the recovery period lasts only a few days. The following tips will help speed your recovery.

  1. Be careful not to bite the inside of your cheek or lip, or your tongue when your mouth is still numb.
  2. For a while after the surgery do not lie flat. This may prolong bleeding. Prop up your head with pillows.
  3. Try using an ice pack on the outside of your cheek for the first 24 hours. You can use moist heat-such as a washcloth soaked in warm water for the following 2 or 3 days.
  4. Eat soft foods for the first few days and gradually add solid foods to to your diet as healing progresses.
  5. Do not use a straw during the first 24 hours as it may break the blood clot around the wound.
  6. After the first 24 hours gently rinse your mouth with warm water. This will help reduce the pain and the swelling

Some issues to consider

If your wisdom teeth are not causing problems, you may need to consider the following:

  • You may never have any problems with your wisdom teeth.
  • It is rarely harmful to your health to have your wisdom teeth removed, but it eliminates any future problems that may develop
  • The roots of the wisdom teeth are not fully developed in younger people and consequently the jaw bone is not as dense, so it is easier to remove the tooth. This leads to quicker healing.
  • If you are older than age 30 the chances of developing problems with your wisdom teeth are reduced. Few people older than 30 develop problems that require removal of their wisdom teeth.

To determine whether you are at risk of infection due to your wisdom teeth please call us on 1300 32 TEETH.