Firstly, the examination appointment. This is the time the dentist identifies that you may or may not require removal of your wisdom teeth. This could be a result of pain associated with a wisdom tooth or it could be identified at a routine check-up appointment either by looking in your mouth or on an x-ray.
There are many different considerations when deciding what is the best approach for each individual person and if you need to have your wisdom teeth removed such as:
- Broken down wisdom teeth which are unable to be repaired.
- Gum disease which cannot be stabilised and therefore controlled long term. This is especially important as gum disease has been linked with poor diabetes control and cardiovascular disease.
- Limited space behind the pre-existing teeth. In these cases, it is common for wisdom teeth to become impacted (trapped) behind the back tooth. This causes poor positioning of the wisdom tooth and leads to plaque and food trapping and concerns for the health of the tooth directly in front.
Many of these cases may be identified by the dentist when you are not in any pain at all and therefore not aware of this being a problem long term. In some cases, however these situations can cause considerable pain. Once a concern about your wisdom teeth has been realised then we would arrange an x-ray (if we haven’t got one already) to better assess any important anatomy (blood vessels, nerves etc) which may complicate removal of the tooth.
In addition to what we see in your mouth or on x-rays many other things complicate an extraction of a wisdom tooth such as your age, are you anxious about dentistry of extractions and or needles, are you on medications or do you have a medical condition that may complicate either extracting the tooth or the healing after the extractions. All of this and more needs to be taken into consideration when deciding the most appropriate treatment for you as the patient.
Let’s say everything has been taken into account and your case is suitable for extraction at our surgery. What can you expect?
Firstly, the procedure will always be thoroughly discussed again, and risk associated will also be discussed until you understand the procedure, risks associated and are still happy to proceed with treatment. Then you will be given an injection to numb the tooth and the surrounding gums. Following this the dentist will check to see if you are appropriately numb before proceeding with the extraction. During the extraction you may feel pressure and movement, sometimes your jaw joint can become tired and uncomfortable because of the pressure however we have trained nurses to help support you jaw in these cases. You may also hear some noises, all of which is a normal part of removing a tooth. Most importantly you shouldn’t feel any pain during the procedure. It may be necessary to cut the tooth in pieces or remove some of the bone around the tooth to allow for the tooth to be removed completely. This will all be done without you experiencing any pain to your tooth or surrounding gums.
Now my wisdom teeth are finally out so what can I expect after the procedure?
After extraction of the wisdom tooth or teeth your dentist will instruct you on how to care for your mouth during the recovery period. It is very important to follow these instructions in its entirety to minimise the risk of complications and help promote nicely healed gum rather than a complication. It is not uncommon to experience some pain and bleeding within the first 24 hours Then a few days later some swelling following the operation. This is a normal part of the healing process and there will be clear instructions on how to manage this by your dentist. For the most part the recovery period could take anywhere from several days to two weeks. Ice packs, pain relief medications prescribed by your dentist, a soft diet and salt water rinses are helpful during this time.
It is important to understand fevers, pus from the socket or severe pain are all potential signs of a complication and its important to contact your dentist or local doctor in this situation.
For more information or to book an appointment give us a call today on 5465 7995 or click here to book online.
Dr Natalie Mackintosh