General Dentistry Wisdom Teeth

Most people will eventually get wisdom teeth, but not all of us are lucky enough to have them come in straight. It leads to many people getting their wisdom teeth removed later on in life. When wisdom teeth are impacted, meaning that they do not fully erupt into the mouth, it can cause pain and infections. In addition, some people require surgery to remove their wisdom teeth due to overcrowding or jaw problems.

This blog post is the perfect resource for those looking for a comprehensive guide on wisdom teeth. We’d like to provide some tips on what you should know before your wisdom teeth erupt as well as what to do if you experience a health problem after they come through.

The wisdom teeth are the last or most posterior teeth in the dental arch. While most people have wisdom teeth, all or some third molars may not erupt. There is also a possibility for an individual to have more than four wisdom teeth. Typically, they appear during late adolescence or early adulthood, but they can occur at any time. 

An impacted wisdom tooth is when it has clearly not emerged through the gums above the jaw bone, while an unerupted tooth is still hidden below the gums. Impacted wisdom teeth cause problems when they are not removed quickly because of crowding in a person’s mouth. If a wisdom tooth becomes blocked by other teeth during its growth period, it may become infected and decay. Because of the significant pain that can occur with this type of infection, wisdom teeth surgery is usually recommended. If the tooth doesn’t have enough room to grow in, it will continue to grow with a curved shape and eventually trap itself underneath other teeth.

Common Reasons Why Wisdom Teeth Are Removed

It is not necessary to remove all wisdom teeth. They are removed to alleviate dental crowding or other issues which may cause pain or problems with your bite. They could also be removed if they become unhealthy, especially if an infection is near the jawbone. 

These teeth can occasionally cause discomfort. If you’re experiencing aches and pains, see your dentist to get a remedy. They’ll assess whether it’s wisdom teeth or something else that’s causing the discomfort. The dentist will not always recommend extraction as a solution if symptoms such as pain and irritation appear. The discomfort might go away with time, and no operation will be necessary.

Impacted wisdom teeth are a dental problem that can cause pain, damage other teeth and even lead to serious medical issues. However, there are instances wherein the impacted wisdom teeth may cause no problem at all. But since they’re difficult to clean, they may be more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease than other teeth.

Impacted wisdom teeth that cause discomfort or other dental problems are typically removed. Yet, some dentists and oral surgeons recommend extracting impacted wisdom teeth that don’t manifest symptoms to avoid future dental problems.

The position of wisdom teeth may affect how well germs are removed. If your gums are sore and irritated, pockets between your teeth can form, allowing germs to grow. As a result, the formation of cavities and tooth decay will be accelerated.

Pericoronitis is one of the most frequent reasons for wisdom tooth emergency extraction. It happens when wisdom teeth have not fully erupted in the lower jaw. Gum infection symptoms include a red, swollen gum tissue behind the last visible molar, an unpleasant or offensive taste/smell, pain when chewing using the back teeth, and occasional pus draining from the region.

Furthermore, the infection may cause swelling of the gums, cheeks, or other jaw regions that are affected. Swelling can exert pressure on nearby tissues and radiate to the ear, resulting in a severe earache. Because an ear infection or sinusitis can cause pain that extends to the teeth, it’s vital to get examined if there’s a suspicion of infection.

The pain of wisdom tooth infection is severe at times, and the condition can spread to other teeth in some cases. A wisdom tooth abscess might be fatal if left untreated, so prompt treatment is critical. A tooth abscess is an emergency since the infection might spread into your jaw, surrounding tissues, or even other parts of your body. While you wait to see the dentist, rinse your mouth with a salt and warm water mixture several times a day to relieve any discomfort or pain.

What Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

When a tooth fails to break through a membrane inside the jaw, it cannot erupt properly and is impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth may sometimes stay trapped beneath the gum tissue, with only their crowns visible from outside of your gums. Wisdom teeth can also become partially impacted, meaning that you can see some part of the tooth above the gum line.

Common Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Depending on the manner in which the teeth grow out, impacted wisdom teeth might cause the following:

How an impacted tooth develops:

Procedure for Extracting Wisdom Teeth

A wisdom tooth extraction typically involves five steps:

Administration of local anaesthesia and sedation

The infected area is numbed with a local anaesthetic, ensuring that the patient doesn’t experience any discomfort during treatment. Also, it can be used in conjunction with nitrous oxide, oral premedications, or intravenous sedation to calm anxious patients. It is often regarded as the most pleasant choice since you become unconscious and are unlikely to recall what occurred afterwards.

Opening the gum tissue

The dentist makes an incision in the gum tissue during oral surgery using a scalpel to reveal the tooth underneath. The underlying bone is exposed by peeling back the gum tissue with surgical instruments. The dental nurse uses high-speed suction to keep the region clean and dry.

Wisdom tooth extraction

The dentist removes the entire tooth, including the root pieces and excess bone, in 30 minutes or less. The socket is also checked for any fragments that need to be removed.

Post extraction

After the extraction is completed, the gum tissue is sutured back into place to cover and promote a better healing process. Some surgeons use stitches while others don’t.

Post - surgery

After the procedure, you will be given a gauze pad or bite pack to stop any bleeding. To avoid infection and manage post – operation discomfort, the patient has to take antibacterial, pain, and anti-inflammatory medications.

The Cost of Wisdom Tooth Removal in Melbourne

The cost of a wisdom tooth extraction varies based on the level of complexity of your treatment. The less complicated the procedure is, the less expensive your treatment will be.

In Melbourne, simple wisdom tooth extraction costs can range from $250 to $400 per tooth, depending on the treatment’s complexity. However, a surgical wisdom tooth extraction done by a surgeon would cost between $450-$600 per tooth.

What to Do after Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

You might be a little bit lightheaded or dizzy the first day after surgery, so it’s essential to get some rest. You can start using an icepack on your face as soon as you are feeling up for it. You will also be given instructions on when and how long medications must be taken, either prescription painkillers or something over-the-counter.

Following wisdom tooth extraction, there is typically swelling, discomfort, and minor bleeding in the first week. Because the incision won’t heal completely for months, you may still get an infection weeks after surgery. Take care of yourself and pay particular attention when there are signs that something is off.

You can resume your regular routine the day after surgery, but don’t engage in anything that might dislodge stitches or the blood clot over your wound. This includes:

  • Strenuous activities
  • Drinking through a straw
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Spitting out

Your dentist will give you specific instructions on how to care for your mouth after dental surgery. It’s crucial that you do an excellent job of caring since infections and wisdom teeth removal complications could occur if the directions aren’t followed correctly. It is the only time your dentist will ask you to refrain from brushing, rinsing, or flossing for the entire day.

Instructions for cleaning include:

  • To keep the wound clean, rinse it with saltwater. When you’re done washing, don’t spit out the salt water. Instead, tip your head over the sink and let the water flow down your chin.
  • Absorb excess blood by gently dabbing the wound with clean gauze.

You should be able to resume your normal activities one or two days after surgery. You’ll want to be vigilant for a week after the extraction not to move or remove your blood clot or stitches. The blood that has formed over your wisdom tooth hole serves two purposes: it protects and heals the wound in the same way as any scab would. If the blood clotting is disrupted, you will experience discomfort and be at risk of infection. When this occurs, it’s known as a dry socket.

Ice and taking prescribed pain medications are the most effective methods for managing discomfort and reducing swelling. Ice packs should be used as directed by your dentist. Don’t place ice directly on your face, as this might cause an ice burn. You will also be advised whether you should take prescription or over-the-counter medications.

While you’re recovering, your dentist might give you antibiotics to prevent any infections. The full course of these medicines must be taken as prescribed by your dental practitioner.

Although you may not feel like eating immediately after surgery, recovery from wisdom teeth operation is aided by drinking plenty of liquid and eating properly. Ask your doctor for a specific diet during the first few days of recovery. Consider meals that are easy to consume and chew lightly, as well as those that will not cause blood clots or stitches to come loose.

Begin with a liquid food and gradually introduce soft foods. These include: 

  • soup
  • smoothies
  • yogurt
  • apple sauce
  • ice cream
  • pudding
  • mashed potatoes
  • cottage cheese

 

Avoid consuming:

  • Food that is extremely hot and can burn the surgical site
  • Seeds, nuts, and crunchy foods that could get stuck in the hole left by your wisdom teeth.
  • Slurping your food too hard or too vigorously will damage stitches or dislodge blood clots.
  • Spicy food that could irritate the wound

 

Depending on your comfort level, you may introduce solid foods into your diet slowly.

FAQ's about Wisdom Teeth and Wisdom Teeth Removal

Q: Does health insurance cover the cost of wisdom teeth removal?

You’ll need a high level of extras to have wisdom tooth surgery covered. Wisdom teeth removals are sometimes covered by private health insurance with added benefits, such as if they are required due to an impacted tooth. The majority of add-on plans cover routine dental treatments, such as dental fillings, but not major dental operations like wisdom tooth extractions.

Q: Do I need a specialist to remove my wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are not always required to be taken out by a specialist. A general dentist handles many wisdom teeth removal procedure, so most patients do not require oral and maxillofacial surgery consultations. If your problem is complicated, you may be referred to an oral surgeon.

Q: How long does the surgery take?

The number of teeth that must be removed determines how long the surgical procedure will take. It may take anywhere between an hour and a half to remove all four wisdom teeth.

Q: Is wisdom teeth extraction painful?

The tooth extraction will be carried out under local anaesthesia so that you won’t feel a thing throughout the procedure. After you’ve removed your wisdom teeth, you’re likely to experience some discomfort as well as bleeding and swelling. It’s critical not to accidentally displace the blood clot or harm your gums while your mouth heals. Also, you can relieve swelling with an ice bag.

Learn More: Ways to Relieve the Pain from Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Q: What are the benefits of removing your wisdom teeth?

There are several advantages to getting your wisdom teeth removed, from basic oral care to eliminating painful and unpleasant symptoms.

Toothbrushes and floss may be ineffective for cleaning your wisdom teeth since they are hard to reach. It leads to an accumulation of germs, sugars, and acids since your regular tooth cleaning routine isn’t sufficient to clean the tooth and can lead to a cavity and produce foul breath. If left unfilled, the cavity may spread and damage more of the tooth and surrounding structures. 

If your wisdom tooth is still beneath the gums and growing horizontally rather than vertically, it can put a strain on surrounding teeth, resulting in crowded and crooked teeth. It can also happen when the wisdom tooth does not have enough space to grow. Thus, you may need braces to repair the damage.

A wisdom tooth may also become irritated even while still beneath the gum tissue. Before becoming infected, the soft tissue covering the tooth may accumulate germs and food particles.

Your other teeth are less likely to be harmed if you remove your wisdom teeth. You’ll also avoid the problems that come with a wisdom tooth, such as cysts, decay, and gum disease. Wisdom tooth extraction becomes more complex and intricate as you get older, which increases the wisdom teeth recovery time and the risks of complications.

Learn More:  Benefits of Removing Wisdom Teeth

Q: What are the risks and disadvantages of removing your wisdom teeth?

Wisdom tooth extractions, like all medical treatments, have their own set of risks.

Wisdom tooth extraction is a very common procedure, even though it can be pretty complex. Depending on your wisdom tooth’s size, shape, and position, removal might range from being simple to a complicated operation. For simple extractions, you should anticipate minimal swelling, bruising, and bleeding. The more difficult extractions will most certainly result in more severe bruising, swelling, and excessive bleeding. After the procedure, your dentist will give you any post-operative care instructions to ease any pain or discomfort.

If you wait to extract your wisdom teeth, you may encounter a longer healing time. The longer you put off removing them, the greater your risk of developing issues. As you grow older, the bone around your wisdom tooth grows denser, making extraction more difficult.

You may get a condition called “dry socket” after your treatment. It is a rare occurrence, affecting less than 5% of patients undergoing tooth extraction. Although unpleasant, they are usually easy to cure. A blood clot forms around a tooth extraction to protect the bone and nerves beneath it. A dry socket occurs when the blood clot is dislodged or dissolves, exposing the bone and nerves.

Q: What are the alternatives to wisdom teeth removal?

Keeping wisdom teeth is an alternative to extracting them. While some people can retain their wisdom teeth, most people do not have that choice due to the potential for severe complications if they are delayed.

Q: Complications when wisdom teeth removal is delayed

  • Impacted wisdom teeth can push nearby teeth, causing crowding and misalignment. 
  • Since maintaining the cleanliness of wisdom teeth is a challenge, it may cause plaque build-up, resulting in cavities and periodontal disease if it is not removed.  
  • Cysts can appear around impacted wisdom teeth, which can cause significant bone damage. 
  • If you delay wisdom tooth extraction, the roots could grow around the nerve of your jaw. So, as the wisdom teeth roots entangle the nerves, they become more vulnerable to damage during extraction. As a result, you might lose the sensation in your mouth, tongue, and lips for a long time.

Q: Will I get anaesthesia during the procedure?

The majority of wisdom tooth extractions can be completed in-chair, so there is no need for a general anaesthetic. To numb your tooth and the surrounding region, your dentist will typically administer an injection of local anaesthetic before beginning the procedure. Although you’ll be awake during the treatment, there shouldn’t be any discomfort. You may breathe in nitrous oxide to relax as you go through the extraction. Additionally, you can receive sedation anesthesia through an intravenous line in your arm.

Q: When should I visit a dentist if I am experiencing pain after the extraction of my wisdom teeth?

 After a wisdom tooth extraction, most people experience some level of discomfort, which generally goes away within three to four days. However, if you are in severe pain radiating from the tooth extraction site or have persistent discomfort that lasts more than ten days, it is time to contact your dentist or oral surgeon. It might be a symptom of something worse.

Q: Signs of infected wisdom tooth

It’s possible that germs may get into the extraction site after a tooth is pulled since this area is still healing. However, this can be avoided by having good oral hygiene. Still, you should be vigilant and contact your dentist when it happens. 

 

Common symptoms include:

 

  • Extreme pain that lasts at least four hours after surgery
  • Discomfort that occurs after you feel better for a while.
  • The extraction site may show discharge, swelling, or redness.
  • There is no relief from pain from painkillers.
  • You have tender gums, jaws, or neck muscles.
  • Having a fever or chills
  • Feelings of nausea or vomiting, chest pain, coughing, or shortness of breath
  • Having bad breath
  • An unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Intolerance to extreme temperatures
  • If you develop dry sockets,

A dry socket occurs when the protective blood clot that covers the wisdom tooth socket becomes dislodged, exposing the nerves and bones. When this happens, you may feel extreme pain, and the area is at risk of infection. Fortunately, the dentist can give prescription medication that will alleviate your symptoms promptly.

Final Thoughts

 

Wisdom teeth are a common source of concern for many young adults. It is important to note that they are not always problematic, and some people do not experience any issues at all. However, if you’ve experienced discomfort, swelling, or infection in your mouth due to impacted wisdom teeth, it may be time for an extraction. A common misconception is that the pain will go away on its own over time. While this can happen, if left untreated, these issues could cause more severe problems like gum disease and tooth decay.

If you’ve been meaning to get your wisdom teeth extracted, but don’t know where to turn or whom to trust, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today at 03 7034 0333. Our friendly team will do their best to answer any questions you may have. Our team at Burwood Dental Care are committed to providing you with complete care from start to finish, so your oral health remains optimal for life.

Dental Restrictions Officially Lifted As of 22/10/21

As advised by Victoria's Chief Health Officer and Premier Daniel Andrews, it is expected that from 11.59 pm Thursday, October 21, 2021, the current COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted for Greater Melbourne.

Lockdown restrictions have now been lifted across Victoria. The Authorised Worker list no longer applies which means that dental practices can return to pre-lockdown settings with no restrictions on patient access to care.

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