Rather than offering wisdom, wisdom teeth are often a cause of pain for many patients. When wisdom teeth grow abnormally or fail to erupt, they can cause serious oral health issues and need to be removed. At Tooth Crusader, I offer a comfortable and safe procedure to minimise any pain after wisdom tooth extraction.
Why Do I Need My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Wisdom teeth are the third set of lower and upper molars to come through in your jaw. They are called wisdom teeth because they usually come in at around 17-21 years old.
Some people never experience issues with their wisdom teeth and have them for their entire lives. Other people have their wisdom teeth removed even before they have erupted, because the tooth can grow abnormally and interfere with the health of the adjacent teeth. This is called an impacted wisdom tooth.
An abnormally growing wisdom tooth can cause tooth decay, crookedness and crowding, jaw damage from cysts, sinus issues, and inflamed gums that can lead to gum disease.
If possible, it is best to check the development of your wisdom teeth when you are 16-19 years old. If there are issues it is best to have them extracted before you are 20, because the roots of your teeth and jawbone are softer so the teeth are easier to remove, and you will heal quicker. Also, you may still be covered under your parents’ private health insurance, which is a great cost saving.
Older adults tend to have erupted wisdom teeth extracted due to decay, because the teeth are so far back in the mouth they can be challenging to keep clean.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Depending on the complexity of the case, there are different techniques that I use for a wisdom tooth extraction. Before surgery, I will take X-rays of your mouth, called an OPG, to determine the position and angle of the tooth and how it affects the other teeth and tissues around it. You will then be given anaesthesia to numb the area.
For a simple extraction, where the tooth has broken through the gum and the crown is showing, I will use forceps to remove the tooth.
If your tooth hasn’t erupted, I will remove the gum tissue around the tooth, or make an incision in the gum to expose the wisdom tooth then detach the tooth from any connective tissue to loosen it in the socket. In some cases, I may need to cut the tooth into sections to avoid breaking it while removing it.
Once the tooth is removed, I will stitch the incision site in case of an impacted tooth, or simply pack the area with gauze to stop the bleeding. Finally, I will give you instructions on how to care for yourself and the wound after surgery.
Complications After Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Wisdom tooth extraction is a common procedure which my team and I have performed numerous times. I aim to provide the safest and most comfortable procedure possible; however, as each patient is different, there can be complications in some cases. Some symptoms to watch out for following your procedure include:
- Constant or excessive bleeding
- Persistent swelling that does not subside after a few days
- More than several days of pain after wisdom tooth extraction
- Bad breath
If you experience any of these symptoms after your wisdom tooth extraction, call us on (02) 8203 8750 as soon as possible to make an appointment so I can help make your recovery more comfortable.
Recovery After Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Many people experience pain after wisdom tooth extraction. This is normal and should stop after a few days. Here are a few of my suggestions to make your recovery period as speedy and comfortable as possible.
- Do not use a straw when drinking, spit when brushing your teeth, or smoke. The sucking action causes negative pressure in the mouth, which can remove or dislodge the blood clot inside the tooth exposing nerve endings, which can be very painful. This condition is known as dry socket.
- Eat soft foods. The site will be tender for a while after surgery; the best thing you can do is to eat soft, cooling foods to nourish your body and help reduce inflammation. My recommendations are poached eggs and smashed avocado, yoghurt, porridge, and fruit smoothies. Avoid anything crunchy, spicy or sticky, as these foods can irritate the wound site.
- Rinse and rest. Rinse with warm salt water 5-6 times per day, and after every time you eat to reduce the risk of infection. Keep your head elevated when lying down to rest and avoid any strenuous activity.
How Long Does the Pain After Wisdom Tooth Extraction Last?
Most simple wisdom tooth extractions have a short recovery period of about 3-4 days, but everyone’s timeline is different. If you have stitches or had a complex procedure, recovery may take 1-2 weeks. To alleviate the pain, I suggest applying a cold pack to the side of your face intermittently, throughout the first couple of days after surgery. I also suggest taking over-the-counter painkillers. For complex extractions, I may also prescribe painkillers and antibiotics.
If you have any questions about wisdom teeth extraction, are experiencing an infection or an impacted wisdom tooth, or discomfort following an extraction, please call Tooth Crusader on (02) 8203 8750 to make an appointment.