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The best time for wisdom teeth removal & tips for post-procedure aftercare

Before considering wisdom teeth removal, you should first check if it’s even necessary. Luckily, there are a number of wisdom teeth symptoms that will quickly prompt you to having them extracted.

Wisdom tooth removal - Dentist in Claremont, Cape Town

Wisdom teeth are the third molars in the back of your jaw and very often do not have enough room to grow properly, without causing problems.

Impacted wisdom tooth

In many cases, wisdom teeth grow in such a way that they only partially emerge from through the gums. In other cases, they remain hidden in the jaw or gums.

Wisdom teeth that are unable to grow properly and emerge through the gums as they should, may become impacted which can cause extreme pain and other problems.

Wisdom teeth coming out

When wisdom teeth only partially emerge through the gums, they create a passage way through the gums. This passage way becomes a breeding ground for bacteria.

Bacteria which accumulates in hard to reach areas can cause oral infections as well as other painful gum diseases.

Wisdom teeth removal

If you experience any of these symptoms in the wisdom tooth area, you may need to consider wisdom tooth extraction:

  • Damage to nearby teeth
  • Recurring gum disease
  • Wisdom tooth pain
  • Tumours
  • Abscesses
  • Extensive tooth decay
  • Recurring infection of the soft tissue behind the last tooth

Other, more extreme symptoms may include:

  • Sinus issues such as pain, pressure and chronic congestion
  • Damage to teeth by moving the teeth around causing bite problems
  • Alignment issues due to badly impacted wisdom teeth which may push teeth around causing crowding
  • Cavities can occur from swollen gums which create pockets between teeth. These pockets are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, easily causing cavities
  • Damage to the jaw due to cysts forming around the wisdom teeth. If these cysts are not treated properly, they can potentially hollow out the jaw, causing extensive nerve damage

What happens during wisdom teeth removal?

Depending on how complicated the removal will be, your dentist or surgeon will typically choose between three types of anaesthesia:

  • General anaesthetic: if your wisdom teeth are badly impacted, you may require general anaesthetic which can be administered intravenously or via a gas which you will inhale. The removal of your wisdom teeth is then done while you are unconscious, while the medical team closely monitors your breathing and other vital signs. You will feel no pain and will have no memory of the procedure.
  • Local anaesthetic: this anaesthesia is administered via one or more injections close to the extraction sites. Generally, your surgeon or dentist will apply a numbing gel to the injection site before injecting. You will be awake throughout the procedure but will feel no pain. However, you will feel some pressure and other sensations during the extraction.
  • Conscious sedation: Administered by an anaesthetist through an intravenous line in your arm. Local anaesthetic is then administered to the extraction site. Your consciousness will be suppressed throughout the procedure, you will feel no pain and will have limited memory of the procedure.

Steps taken to remove wisdom teeth:

  • An incision is made in the gum in order to expose the bone and the tooth
  • The bone which restricts access to the tooth is removed
  • The tooth is removed
  • The incision site is cleaned while removing any remaining debris
  • The wound is stitched closed
  • A gauze is placed over the wound to control bleeding and to promote blood clotting in the area

Wisdom teeth removal aftercare

  • Pain management: your dentist may prescribe strong pain killers for the first day or two post-procedure, after which you may use over-the-counter pain medication to manage your pain
  • Activity: for the first day or two, try and rest and refrain from most of your daily activities. For at least a week post-procedure, avoid strenuous activities such as sport
  • Food: for at least 24 hours after the procedure, eat only soft food which does not require chewing. This also helps prevent solid food particles from getting stuck in the wound which will promote infection
  • Beverages: drink a lot of water after your procedure and avoid hot, alcoholic, caffeinated and carbonated drinks for at least two days. Additionally, avoid drinking from a straw as the sucking action may dislodge the blood clot which is required for the wound to heal
  • Swelling and bruising: use an ice pack to help bring the swelling down. The swelling may take two or three days to improve while the bruising may take a bit longer
  • Cleaning your mouth: do not brush your teeth during the first 24 hours post-procedure. Instead, gently gargle and rinse your mouth with warm salt water. When you start brushing your teeth again, be sure to go gently when you are close to the wound to avoid damaging the wound
  • Smoking: for at least 72 hours post-procedure, it’s advised that you do not smoke as the sucking action may dislodge the blood clot. Furthermore, tobacco smoke delays the body’s natural healing process

Post-operative complications

Should you experience any of the following symptoms, do not hesitate to call your dentist for advice:

  • Fever
  • Severe pain which is not relieved by pain medication
  • Swelling which is increasing instead of decreasing
  • Numbness or loss of feeling
  • Difficulty in breathing or swallowing
  • Blood or pus in nasal discharge
  • Pus oozing from the wound
  • A bad taste in your mouth
  • Excessive bleeding

Wisdom teeth removal is not always necessary

The following are reasons to not have your wisdom teeth removed:

  • They have fully erupted
  • They are healthy and free of cavities or other dental issues
  • You are able to clean them properly as part of your daily hygiene practice
  • They are correctly positioned and are not causing biting problems with their opposite teeth

The best way to know if your wisdom teeth need to be extracted is for you to visit a dentist so that a thorough inspection can be done. This will often require X-rays to be taken.

Cloud Nine Dental – Your Dentist in Claremont

To find out if you require wisdom teeth removal, contact our professional dentists in Claremont today and make an appointment so that we can provide you with expert advice.

 

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