Wisdom Tooth Removal: Things To Know About Extraction And Recovery
Wisdom tooth removal is a common dental procedure that many individuals undergo during their lifetime. Although the thought of oral surgery makes many people anxious, it is important to understand that it’s a very common procedure. To help alleviate any concerns, we will outline what’s involved in wisdom tooth removal, including the extraction procedure and recovery process.
Understanding Wisdom Tooth Removal
Our mouth typically accommodates 28 teeth. However, with the eruption of the wisdom teeth, known as third molars, the count increases to 32. This can lead to overcrowding and potential alignment issues, which may cause significant discomfort or pain. Here are common signs you can watch out for:
- Persistent pain in the back of your mouth
- Swelling or redness around the gums at the back of your mouth
- Difficulty in opening your mouth
- Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
The Extraction Procedure
The extraction procedure typically follows these steps:
- Preparation: Before the extraction, the dental professional will conduct a thorough examination, including X-rays, to assess the position and condition of the wisdom teeth.
- Anaesthetic: Local or general anaesthetic will be administered to make the procedure as comfortable as possible.
- Incision: If the tooth is impacted under the gum, the dentist will make an incision in the gum tissue to access the wisdom tooth and, if necessary, remove any bone that blocks the tooth.
- Extraction: The wisdom tooth will be carefully extracted from its socket. In certain cases, the tooth may be divided into smaller pieces for easier removal.
- Closure: After the tooth is removed, stitches may be placed, which will dissolve over time.
- Haemostasis: If stitches are not required, we will make sure that any bleeding is controlled by applying pressure to the extraction site or through the use of a haemostatic agent.
Recovery and Care
The recovery phase after wisdom tooth extraction is important to ensure a smooth healing process and minimise the risk of complications. Here are post-extraction care tips:
- Avoid Certain Foods: Stick to soft foods and avoid crunchy, chewy or spicy items that may irritate the extraction site.
- Take Prescribed Medication: If prescribed, take medication as instructed by your dentist.
- Swelling and Ice Packs: Expect swelling in the first few days. Applying cold compressions, such as an ice pack or a package of frozen peas etc., to the affected area can help reduce swelling.
- Oral Hygiene: Maintain oral hygiene but be gentle around the extraction site. Avoid rinsing or sucking, or spitting forcefully to prevent dislodging the blood clot covering the extraction site. Avoid using straws, and if you are a smoker, do not smoke while you are healing, as both of these activities can also dislodge the blood clot and delay healing.
- Rest and Avoid Strenuous Activities: Allow yourself adequate rest and avoid strenuous physical activities during the initial days of recovery. If a general anaesthetic is required for wisdom tooth surgery, we generally advise patients to take 1 week away from work.
When to Seek Help
While wisdom tooth extraction is generally safe, complications may occur. It’s important to be aware of the signs of potential issues, including:
- Excessive Bleeding: If bleeding persists or becomes uncontrollable, seek immediate medical attention.
- Infection: Signs of infection include severe pain, swelling or fever.
- Dry Socket: This occurs when the blood clot at the extraction site dislodges, leading to increased pain and delayed healing.
If you experience any of these complications or have concerns during the recovery period, reach out to your dentist.
Wisdom Tooth Removal in Cairns
At Perfect Teeth, we conduct a thorough dental assessment to determine a suitable treatment option. In certain cases, a full mouth X-Ray may be required if impaction is suspected. Our approach to treatment may involve complete wisdom tooth removal and addressing any potential complications. We evaluate each patient individually, providing a treatment plan that caters to your specific circumstances.
For wisdom tooth removal, we can provide treatment under general anaesthetic. In simple cases where the wisdom teeth are easy to extract, the procedure can also be performed in a chair. Post-procedure, our team offers guidance on pain management and steps for a smooth recovery.