Wisdom Teeth Removal Gold Coast
Wisdom teeth may need to be extracted if they affect other teeth often referred to as 'impacted wisdom teeth'.
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are large teeth (otherwise known as molars) that develop at the back of your mouth on either side of your upper and lower jaws. Wisdom teeth often appear long after your adult teeth, between the ages of 17 and 24 years old.
Some people never develop wisdom teeth. For those who do, wisdom teeth grow effortlessly into position with little pain or fuss. If there is not enough space for the teeth to grow, or if they grow at the wrong angle causing only partial emergence, they can become ‘impacted’.
What are the symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth?
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a lot of pain and discomfort and will often need to be removed. Common symptoms associated with impacted wisdom teeth include:
- Intense pain and soreness in the mouth (possibly from the ear and/or throat)
- Stiffness in the jaw
- Infection in the mouth
- Facial swelling or gum line swelling in the back of the mouth
- General unwell feeling
Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Impacted wisdom teeth leave your mouth susceptible to bacteria and plaque build-up. As it is difficult to keep clean, wisdom teeth can trigger associated problems such as cysts, tumours, infection and gum disease.
Wisdom teeth that have become impacted, are intensely painful and can result in related orthodontic issues such as misaligned teeth or a ‘bad bite’.
Your dentist will advise you of any possible complications, risks or side effects associated with wisdom teeth removal.
How are wisdom teeth removed?
Depending on the severity of the impacted wisdom tooth and the number of wisdom teeth to be removed, extraction can be conducted under local anesthetic in the dentist chair or general anesthetic in hospital. In some cases, wisdom teeth are no different to extractions of any other teeth.
You should discuss these options with your dental practitioner who will be able to provide you with any further information needed to reassure you for the procedure.
During the procedure, the wisdom tooth socket will be widened using a straight instrument and pair of forceps. The tooth is loosened by being moved from side-to-side until loose enough to be removed entirely.
In circumstances where the tooth is deeply impacted, the dentist makes an incision in the gums or may remove some bone around the affected area, as well. Once the tooth has been removed, the incision is closed with stitches, which may dissolve after ten days. The entire procedure takes between 45 minutes to an hour and a half.
How to care for your teeth post-surgery
After surgery, you may experience some effects of the anesthetic. You will need to rest until the effects have worn off. It is important you pre-arrange for someone to care for you and escort you home after the operation.
It is usually common for your mouth to feel numb for several hours. In the 24 hours after surgery, we recommend that patients:
- Avoid touching the affected area with your tongue or hands
- Avoid chewing on the affected area as it may cause damage
- Gently bite on gauze from time to time to manage spot bleeding and assist pain relief
- Avoid hot food and drinks
- Avoid vigorous rinsing or swishing of water or mouthwash in your mouth as it may encourage the blood clot in the tooth socket to break away
- Maintain good oral hygiene to reduce the risk of infection, however avoid brushing the affected area
- For up to 72 hours following surgery, avoid smoking and drinking alcohol as this may cause complications and delay healing (nicotine reduces blood supply, it is best to avoid smoking for a longer period if possible)
- Eat soft foods and liquid, such as soups and smoothies until your jaw and teeth feel less tender and stiff
- Avoid drinking through a straw as it can dislodge the blood clot
- Place an extra pillow behind your head to elevate while sleeping.
Your dentist will recommend pain killers for up to a week after surgery. During the first and second weeks after wisdom teeth removal surgery, it is common to experience bruising and facial swelling.
Your dentist will advise you on how best to manage any bleeding that occurs, bleeding is quite common for wisdom tooth removal surgery.
If stiches have been used to secure the wound, they should dissolve within 10 days. It is necessary to understand that prescribed antibiotics may interfere with contraceptives or birth control medication.
What are the risks associated with wisdom tooth removal?
Wisdom tooth removal surgery is prone to risks and side effects as many operations of this nature are. While it is fairly uncommon experience side effects, you are encouraged to contact your dentist immediately, should you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Constant bleeding
- Severe pain (that doesn’t subside with pain medication)
- Trouble with breathing or swallowing
- A temperature or fever
- Ongoing swelling after a few days
- Ongoing numbness a few days
- A general unwell feeling
- Dry socket
Dry socket is one of the most common complications to result from wisdom tooth removal surgery and will cause severe pain and prolong healing in the affected area.
A dry socket can occur when the blood clot that sits over the tooth socket or hole, breaks away. With the blood clot removed, the wound, bone and nerves are exposed to air, fluid and food.
Symptoms of dry socket include severe throbbing pain, bad breath and an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Additionally, the tooth socket where the wisdom tooth was removed may appear to look dry with visible white bone, instead of a dark-coloured blood clot.
Patients are encouraged to contact their dentist immediately if these symptoms occur. The dentist will carry out an examination to diagnose dry socket.
If diagnosed with dry socket, the dentist will wash the socket to clear it of any debris and place an analgesic dressing to cover and protect it.
You may additionally be advised to take anti-inflammatory and pain medication. It is important to be mindful that hormonal changes and birth control medication in women can increase the risk of dry socket.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
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