Your wisdom teeth appear when the rest of your adult teeth are in place. They can cause you pain or create issues for your other teeth, especially if they become stuck, grow at an odd angle or only partially emerge. Removing wisdom teeth is one of the most common surgical procedures, and we are experienced at performing it at our practice.
Most people have four wisdom teeth, which grow at the very back of the mouth and usually appear during the late teens or early twenties. For some patients, their wisdom teeth do not cause a problem, and they can be left in the mouth for the long term without issue, as long as they are included in a good oral hygiene routine.
Wisdom teeth have a tendency to grow incorrectly due to a lack of space in your mouth. If you find your wisdom tooth is causing you pain, we need to see you. We can assess the impact the tooth is having on the rest of your mouth and remove it if necessary, especially if it is causing decay, infection or gum disease.
If we decide it is best for your wisdom tooth to be removed, we explain the reasons for the procedure and talk you through what it will involve. We also obtain your consent for the surgery and ensure you are happy to continue.
Before we begin removing your tooth, we use local anaesthetic to numb the area in your mouth and ensure you are feeling comfortable. If you are particularly anxious, we can use sedation to help you control this. We loosen your tooth little by little using precise instruments until it is easily able to be taken out. In some cases, especially if your wisdom tooth is stuck or impacted, we need to make a small cut in your gum to successfully remove it.
When your wisdom tooth is out, we make sure you are feeling well and give you some tailored advice on what you can expect in the next few days. You can leave the practice alone if local anaesthetic was used, but may prefer to have someone available to drive you home.
We use local anaesthetic to numb the affected area in your mouth, and as such you should not feel any pain. You are likely to experience some pressure as your tooth is gently loosened, but this is not painful and does not last long.
Depending on the complexity of your case, and whether your wisdom tooth is impacted or not, the procedure can take anything from a few minutes to half an hour or more. Your dentist will be able to tell you if your case is straightforward or more complex at your initial appointment, and how long they estimate it will take to remove your tooth.
After surgery, some minor bleeding from the wound can be expected, which can be controlled by biting on a piece of gauze over the operation area for about half an hour. Facial swelling and discolouration of the overlying skin will also develop, increasing for the first 72 hours and subsiding thereafter. You may not be able to open your mouth as wide as usual for a few days.
In most cases, you will experience swelling and tenderness for the first few days, which can be managed with over the counter painkillers, as advised by your dentist. Painkillers, antibiotics and an antiseptic mouthwash are usually prescribed after the surgery. You will be advised to maintain good oral hygiene and also to keep to a soft diet for a few days.
Many patients are able to return to their normal daily routines soon after treatment and you are able to leave the practice alone if only local anaesthetic was used. You may choose to have someone accompany you, however, and we may advise that you take the rest of the day off work.
If your wisdom tooth is not causing any pain or discomfort, there is usually no need to remove it. Some infections can be treated with a course of antibiotics and the wisdom tooth able to be left, even if impacted, and kept an eye on at your regular dental examinations. However, if the problem persists, or the impacted tooth is causing issues with cleaning your teeth, we may decide it needs to be removed.
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