Everything you need to know about Wisdom Teeth:
Wisdom Teeth are the last permanent molar teeth on each side of the upper and lower jaw to come through. It is common for some people not to have them or to have un-erupted Wisdom Teeth. If you do have wisdom teeth, they usually erupt between the ages of 18 to 21 years.
What you need to know:
Wisdom Teeth can come through just like the rest of the teeth in your mouth with no problems. However, it is common not to have enough room in your mouth to fit them. This can mean your Wisdom Teeth may only partially erupt, come through crooked or stay impacted (below the gum line un-erupted).
Impacted, partially erupted or crooked wisdom teeth can lead to painful crowding, swelling and tenderness. Pericornitis is a dental infection that occurs when your wisdom tooth partially erupts and the gum tissue covers a part of the top of the tooth. This allows food or plaque to lodge under the gum tissue flap. Symptoms of Pericornitis include:
- A bad smell or taste in your mouth
- Discharge of pus from the gum
- Swollen lymph lodes under the chin
- Muscle spasm in the jaw
- Swelling on the affected side of your face
You can treat Pericornitis by rinsing with warm salt water and making sure that food is removed.
It is often recommended that Wisdom Teeth be removed before the age of 20, as your tooth roots are less developed which means fewer complications during their removal. Dr Linc will usually recommend Wisdom Teeth are evaluated to see if there is a need for their removal at around 16 years of age.
Removing Wisdom Teeth:
Wisdom Tooth removal is a relatively routine procedure. Dr Linc will evaluate the situation, and will either do the surgery himself or recommend you see an oral surgeon specialist.
Dr Linc will usually remove Wisdom Teeth under conscious sedation also known as Sleep Dentistry and local anaesthesia in the dental chair. If you are anxious about dental treatment, you may like to consider having conscious sedation for your tooth removal procedure. If so, Dr Linc will prescribe medication for you to take before your appointment.
What type of Wisdom Tooth removal will you need?
There are generally two types of Wisdom Tooth extractions:
- A simple extraction – this removes an erupted tooth in one single piece. Once numb, Dr Linc loosens the tooth with a dental instrument called an elevator, then uses a pair of dental forceps to remove the tooth
- A surgical extraction – this is a more complex procedure, which may be used if your tooth is broken or not erupted. Dr Linc will make a small incision in your gum to surgically remove your tooth. He will usually cut your tooth into smaller pieces, use an elevator to loosen the pieces, and then use dental forceps to remove the pieces of tooth.
How to prepare yourself for Wisdom Tooth removal:
Ensure you provide your full medical and dental history and a list of all the medicines you take. This should include prescription and over-the-counter medication, along with vitamins and supplements which may need to be stopped or reduced when having a tooth removed.
Dr Linc will take an X-ray of the area to plan the best way to remove your tooth. If you are having wisdom teeth or multiple teeth removed, Dr Linc may recommend an OPG, a Dental CT or panoramic X-ray. This X-ray captures all of your teeth at once and will show several things that help to guide Dr Linc during your tooth removal, including:
- Where the roots are in relationship to your other teeth
- If an upper tooth, its relationship to your sinuses
- If a lower tooth, its relationship to your inferior alveolar nerve that gives feeling to your lower jaw, lower teeth, lower lip and chin
- Any infections, tumours or bone disease
Dr Linc may prescribe antibiotics for you to take before and after your tooth removal. This varies from patient to patient, but you are likely to need antibiotics if:
- You have infection at the time of your extraction
- You have a weakened immune system
- You have specific medical conditions
What to expect during your tooth removal:
During an extraction, you can expect to feel pressure, but no pain. If you feel any pain or pinching, tell Dr Linc.
What to expect after your Wisdom Tooth removal:
After your Wisdom Tooth extraction, it may be a good idea to have someone drive you home and stay with you. You will be given post-surgery instructions, and it is very important that you follow these instructions to avoid any infection or complications.
After your tooth removal, you may need to bite on a piece of gauze for 20 or 30 minutes. This allows the blood in the socket where your tooth once was to clot. You may still bleed a small amount, but this should taper off over the following 24 hours. It is important you do not disturb the clot that forms on the socket.
Dr Linc will decide if you need stitches, and whether they be stiches that dissolve or stitches that need removing. Dissolving stitches will usually take one to two weeks; rinsing with warm salt water will help your stitches dissolve.
How to manage your pain after having Wisdom Teeth removed:
Having Wisdom Teeth removed is surgery and you can expect some discomfort, even after a simple extraction. Surgical extractions generally cause more pain after the procedure than simple extractions.
Ice packs on your face will help to reduce any swelling, 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. If your jaw is still sore and stiff after any swelling goes down, you can try warm compresses.
Dr Linc may prescribe you with pain medication; however, most pain is gone after a couple of days. If you take an anti-inflammatory drug this can decrease the pain greatly. Take the first tablets before your local anesthesia wears off and continue taking them for about three days. Dr Linc will recommend the appropriate dose for you.
It is recommended that you eat soft and cool foods for a few days.
Twenty-four hours after your tooth removal, you may gently rinse your mouth with warm saltwater; this will keep the area clean and help the healing process. Healing will take at least two weeks.
After your Wisdom Teeth extractions you should avoid:
- Using a straw
Smoking, using a straw and spitting causes an action in your mouth that can pull the blood clot from your socket, leading to complications.
What to watch out for after your Wisdom Teeth removal.
The most common complication after a tooth removal is a dry socket. A dry socket occurs when the blood clot does not form in your tooth socket or it breaks down too early. This can be very painful and usually occurs during the first five days after your tooth removal. To ease the pain of a dry socket, Dr Linc will rinse out the empty socket, remove any debris and apply a medicated dressing to protect the area. A dry socket should take seven to 10 days to heal.
Other potential problems include:
- A small piece of tooth root remains in your jaw
- Soreness in the jaw muscles or in your jaw joint
- Long-lasting numbness in the lower lip and chin – although uncommon, this may be caused by injury to the inferior alveolar nerve in your lower jaw. Healing may take three to six months, however in rare cases may be permanent
- A hole in your sinus may occur when removing an upper back tooth – a small hole usually closes up by itself in a few weeks, however, more surgery may be needed
Call Dr Linc if:
- Swelling gets worse instead of better
- You have fever, chills or redness
- You have trouble swallowing
- You have uncontrolled bleeding in the area
- The area continues to ooze or bleed after the first 24 hours
- Your tongue, chin or lip feels numb more than six to eight hours after
- The area becomes very painful – you may have a dry socket
Dr Linc is available at Harris Dental Boutique Bargara dental practice near Bundaberg, Monday to Friday at Shop 2/16 See Street Bargara Q 4670. There are usually appointment times available each day to see new patients or dental emergencies. Give the front office team a call on 07 41590 660 to organise a time that suits you, contact us for more information or book an appointment with Dr Linc in Bargara near Bundaberg.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.