Wisdom Teeth Removal
What Are Wisdom Teeth and Why Might They Need Extracting?
Wisdom teeth are the third molars that typically erupt in the late teens or early twenties. Sometimes they can come through without any problems, but all too often there is insufficient space in the jaw to allow them to come through so they are impacted, or they may be poorly aligned.
How Will I Know If My Wisdom Teeth Are Likely to Cause Problems?
If you visit Sparkle Dental or another dental surgery at regular intervals than your dentist will evaluate your wisdom teeth every so often, checking their alignment with x-rays. If it looks likely that they won't be able to erupt normally then you may be recommended to have them extracted before they try to push through the gums and before they can create any problems.
Early extraction can be less complicated than leaving teeth to be extracted at a later date. This is because wisdom tooth removal is easier when you are younger, as the roots of the teeth are not yet developed and the teeth have not become fused into the bone. Younger people are also more able to heal more easily than older people.
How Will My Dentist Extract My Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom tooth extraction does depend on whether or not the tooth is still embedded in the gums or if it is fully or partially erupted. If the tooth is fully erupted then extraction is likely to be pretty straightforward, but if the tooth is partially erupted or is still in the gums then it might be necessary to make a small incision in the side of the gums and to the bone covering the tooth to access it so it can be extracted. Your dentist may extract the tooth in several pieces to help minimise the size of the incision.
Your tooth will be numbed prior to extraction, but you might want to opt for extra sedation. This could be in the form of nitrous oxide or laughing gas, through taking oral sedation an hour or two before your appointment, or through having intravenous sedation. Your dentist will discuss all the options with you prior to your appointment. If you do wish to have extra sedation then someone will need to take you home from your appointment as you will be unable to drive yourself.
What to Expect after Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Sparkle Dental will give you lots of information on what to expect after having your wisdom teeth extracted, and how to care for the extraction sites. How quickly you recover after surgery does depend on the degree of difficulty of the extraction.
In the first day after extraction you can expect:
Minor bleeding in the first few hours following the tooth extraction. Applying pressure over the empty sockets with a clean piece of moistened gauze will help stop the bleeding, although a moistened teabag is also quite good at it contains tannins that help the blood to clot. If bleeding appears heavy then contact us for advice.
A blood clot should form in the empty tooth socket and it's important to take care not to dislodge it. Avoid rinsing your mouth or spitting for the first day after extraction, and avoid using straws to drink beverages. Even drinking very hot liquids could dislodge the clot.
Minor facial swelling in the area nearest the empty tooth socket can be minimised through applying an ice pack to the outside of your face for 10 minutes or so, before taking a break for twenty minutes. This process can be repeated as necessary during the first 24 hours.
If you've been prescribed any antibiotics then be sure to take them until you complete the prescription.
You might have been prescribed pain medication, but otherwise over-the-counter painkillers can be taken to alleviate minor pain and discomfort.
Avoid eating until the anaesthesia has worn off, and stick to eating soft foods for the first few days.
Make sure you continue to brush your teeth, avoiding the extraction sites and the teeth directly adjacent to the empty sockets.
Once the first 24 hours have passed, any facial swelling can be treated with heat packs. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can help aid healing and reduce any discomfort. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for the extraction site to completely heal, but it should have healed sufficiently within the first week or two for you to feel reasonably comfortable.
Complications That Could Arise As a Result of Wisdom Tooth Removal
Complications are rare but it's worth being aware of what they are so you can watch out for any signs. Dry socket can occur if the blood clot either fails to form in the empty sockets, or if it is dislodged, and typically occurs 3 to 4 days after the extraction. When this happens you might be able to see the bone in the empty socket, and it's likely that the extraction site will feel increasingly painful. Other symptoms include bad breath. In this case you'll need to have additional treatment to clean out the empty socket, and medication will be placed into the socket to help it heal. Another complication is paraesthesia but this is much rarer. Sometimes the extracted wisdom teeth were very close to nerves in the jawbone, and there's a small risk that these nerves might become damaged during the extraction. This can cause numbness in the neck, chin or tongue that can last a few days or weeks, or which may in extremely rare cases be permanent.
How Much Does Wisdom Tooth Extraction Cost?
The cost of wisdom tooth extraction can depend on the complexity of the treatment, but you can expect to pay between $260 to $400 per tooth.