Wisdom teeth tend to be associated in most people’s minds with dental problems – either because they are causing pain or because they need to be removed. That’s hardly surprising, as studies suggest that as many as 80 percent of people go through the procedure of wisdom teeth removal.
They are called wisdom teeth because they erupt through the gum after our other teeth, typically when we are in our late teens or early 20s – when we are supposedly “older and wiser.” The name is apt, as wisdom teeth extraction is a rite of passage that the vast majority of us go through as young adults.
It is understandable that you might feel apprehensive at the thought of removal surgery, but it is a routine procedure for qualified dentists.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
The official name for wisdom teeth is our third molars. They are something of an evolutionary throwback, as we do not need their extra tearing power with our modern diets. Furthermore, the human jawbone has changed in shape over the generations such that there is usually insufficient space for them to erupt without impacting our other teeth.
Even with properly erupted wisdom teeth, overcrowding is likely to be a problem. However, the most common difficulty is with impacted wisdom teeth. This is when they collide with neighbouring teeth, or sometimes their roots. This causes pain, tenderness and swelling, with the potential for infections and other problems if left untreated.
Wisdom Teeth Removal
As we have already intimated, removal of impacted or infected wisdom teeth is a very common procedure and one that the majority of people go through sooner or later. The location of the wisdom teeth right at the back of the jaw, and the fact that the teeth might not be fully erupted combine to mean that wisdom teeth removal can be more complicated than normal teeth extraction.
However, the private wisdom tooth removal dentists at Glow Dental perform these procedures all the time. We will make sure the process is painless and stress-free every step of the way.
Why Remove Wisdom Teeth?
The third molars are typically more trouble than they are worth. In fact, it is believed that only around one in five people still have their wisdom teeth by the age of 30. The most common issue is impacted teeth when the wisdom teeth effectively try to erupt through the gum line, but in doing so, are blocked by the neighbouring molars.
This results in a range of problems. The impact leads to tenderness and pain, while half-erupted wisdom teeth provide the perfect place for food to get stuck, leading to tooth decay and infection.
Impacted or infected wisdom teeth cause pain and discomfort. They can also make eating and even speaking a difficult chore. Removing the wisdom teeth puts an end to all that pain and heartache. It also gives your other teeth the best opportunity to thrive, meaning better oral health and a smile you can be proud of.
Common Questions in Relation to Wisdom Tooth Extractions
If you regularly visit your dentist at the recommended intervals, he or she will keep an eye on the development of your wisdom teeth by taking x-rays. These will show if overcrowding or impacted wisdom teeth are likely to become a problem. There are also some tell-tale signs of wisdom tooth trouble. These include swollen gums, swelling and pain around the jaw, bad breath and an unpleasant taste in the mouth. You might also experience difficulty opening your mouth wide, or notice a strange “clicking” when you do so.
Years ago, dentists used to encourage extraction routinely, even when it was not strictly necessary. Those days are long gone, and today, if your dentist advises having your wisdom teeth removed, it is with good reason. Of course, every case is different, and if there are other viable alternatives, the dentist will explain these, along with their pros and cons. In general, though, when wisdom teeth removal is necessary, it will relieve your pain and leave you feeling so much better and healthier.
Usually, there is no need for any special preparation if you are having your wisdom teeth removed under local anaesthetic. However, every patient is an individual, so your dentist will tell you if there is anything you should or should not do prior to your appointment.
Tooth extraction is completely painless, and that applies as much to wisdom teeth as to any others. The dentist will give you a local anaesthetic to numb the area, and you should feel nothing at all. In the unlikely event that you feel anything, be sure to let the dentist know straight away, and you will be given some additional anaesthesia. There will be some soreness after the anaesthetic wears off, but this is not severe and can be treated with over-the-counter pain medication. Your wisdom teeth removal dentist will do everything possible to make the whole process pain-free, both during and after the extraction of your wisdom teeth.
In general, all that is required for wisdom teeth removal is a local anaesthetic. However, for patients who feel particularly nervous, the dentist might also administer a sedative. If you are feeling anxious on this point, say so. Our dentists deal with nervous patients every day and want you to feel as relaxed and at ease as possible during the procedure.
You will feel some pulling and pressure during the process, and while this sensation is a little strange, it is not at all painful. In the unlikely event that you feel any pain at any point, just let the dentist know with a raise of your hand and he or she will give you some extra anaesthetic and will give it time to take effect before proceeding.
Wisdom teeth removal is a process that thousands of people go through. It is a routine dental procedure, and in the vast majority of cases, recovery is complete within two weeks. Of course, there are risks attached to any medical procedure, and the most common one associated with the removal of wisdom teeth is pain or inflammation around the area where the extraction took place. This is sometimes known as dry socket, and it occurs when the blood clot that forms naturally becomes damaged or is lost. The dentist will give you aftercare instructions, which will include avoiding hot drinks and trying not to smoke for the first 72 hours or so. Follow these, and the risk of dry socket is greatly reduced.
Most wisdom teeth extractions take place under a local anaesthetic in the dentist’s office. In a minority of cases, where the teeth are severely impacted or inaccessible, it might be necessary to have them removed in hospital under a general anaesthetic. However, when this is the case, it is evident from the outset and something that the dentist will discuss with you so that you know what to expect. In other words, you will not “suddenly end up in hospital” when you come to Glow Dental for wisdom teeth removal – at least, as long as you take care when crossing the street!
Will I Be Able To Eat After Having My Wisdom Teeth Removed, Or Will I Be Having My Food Processed For A Week?
Don’t worry; you will not have to live on baby food for days on end. The dentist will provide detailed advice, but in general, it is best to stick with soft foods for the first 48 hours or so. Ice cream is a great choice, as it helps relieve any post-operative soreness. You will soon be back to your usual diet, but it is best to avoid particularly hard, chewy or spicy food for around a week, to give the extraction site a chance to heal properly.