Did you know that 85% of people must have their wisdom teeth removed? This incredibly common procedure isn’t generally too complicated, but recovery can be slightly uncomfortable. Read on to learn more about what you can expect if you’re one of the many who need their wisdom extracted.
Wisdom teeth are considered vestigial, which means we no longer need them from an evolutionary standpoint. These four additional molars, one in each back quadrant of the mouth, once served to help us chew and digest tough foods like hard nuts, stringy game meat, and chewy grains. However, our modern lives and diets don’t require the services of these additional teeth. Indeed, wisdom teeth serve no real purpose anymore, and in fact, they are mostly just a painful inconvenience for many people.
Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed So Frequently?
Because wisdom teeth appear relatively late compared to the rest of the adult teeth, space in the mouth and jaw is often limited by the time they choose to make an appearance. Most people start to feel their wisdom teeth growing between the ages of 15 and 25, so it’s especially important to pay attention to any feelings of swelling and tenderness at the back of the jaw during this time. This is because wisdom teeth can cause a whole host of mouth and jaw issues due to space constraints within the mouth.
Wisdom teeth are significantly larger than the rest of the teeth. This means that when they start to make their appearance, they often force other teeth out of alignment to create space. One of the main indicators that all is not well with your wisdom teeth is a gradual shifting in the position of your other teeth. This can cause overlap and may even require orthodontia to correct. Far more concerning, however, is the possibility of an impacted wisdom tooth.
What Is An Impacted Wisdom Tooth?
An impacted wisdom tooth is what happens when a wisdom tooth fails to erupt through the gum line and instead either grows sideways, pushing against the neighbouring teeth, or grows downwards, into the jawbone itself. This causes intense pain in the back of the jaw and can lead to major dental issues, including damage to the jawbone or agonising infections. For this reason, we thoroughly recommend having frequent dental checkups and the occasional x-ray – these will show us where your wisdom teeth are located and can enable us to schedule an extraction before they become a painful problem.
Wisdom Tooth Removal at Access Dental Care
We don’t believe in subjecting our patients to unnecessary surgery, so we’ll only recommend a wisdom tooth extraction if it’s clear that there is an infection, pain, or damage being caused to other teeth or the jawbone itself. Indeed, some people are lucky enough to be able to keep their wisdom teeth, although this is admittedly a rare occurrence.
Generally, we advise patients in need of wisdom tooth extraction to have the procedure performed under general anesthetic during one of our monthly hospital sessions. Occasionally, we may perform an extraction at our clinic using oral sedation. If there are any complications, for example, excessively long wisdom tooth roots, we may suggest a visit to a maxillofacial specialist.
During wisdom tooth removal, your surgeon may break the tooth into smaller pieces to facilitate easier removal or may have to remove a small amount of bone to expose the roots of the tooth to perform the extraction. The excision site will be covered in gauze following the removal to stop further bleeding.
Recovering from Wisdom Tooth Removal
Unfortunately, there will be some discomfort during your recovery period. However, pain, swelling, and bleeding should all decrease by day three following your procedure. It’s critically important to follow any after-care instructions after your extraction to prevent further infection or complications. We suggest having a look at our earlier blog for some advice on what to eat during your recovery.
How Can We Help?
If you’re suffering from any pain, tenderness, or swelling at the back of your jaw, we suggest scheduling an appointment with one of our top teams. We provide wisdom tooth extraction services, along with a host of other dental procedures in Bull Creek, East Perth, and Perth CBD.
To learn more about what we offer at Access Dental Care, please have a look here.
To schedule an appointment or consultation, please call (08) 9485 0600 or get in touch here.