Wisdom tooth removal

Wisdom teeth are the last of all the permanent teeth to erupt through the gum tissue. This usually occurs after the age of 18 years. However, at this age with all the other permanent teeth in place, there is usually no space for these “third molars” to erupt. This can prevent the wisdom teeth from being able to erupt properly and can lead to them impacted or semi impacted within the gum tissue.
Contrary to common beliefs, all wisdom teeth need not be removed. We only remove the wisdom teeth that suffer recurring swelling and inflammation, or cause the patient discomfort. Wisdom teeth are also removed when they risk the health of their neighbouring teeth.
In all other cases, they are kept in place. You could say our motto regarding wisdom teeth is " If it isn’t broke, don't fix it".

What is wisdom tooth removal?

This procedure involves the surgical removal of the wisdom teeth either by a general dentist or in the case of heavily impacted teeth, an oral surgeon.

Crown lengthening

Why is this treatment important?

  • If impacted wisdom teeth are not removed they can damage adjacent teeth, the jawbone and surrounding nerves. They may lie horizontally, towards the neighbouring molars or away from them.
  • Partially erupted teeth can allow for bacteria to enter through the open gum at the affected tooth site and cause infection. This infection may lead to pain, fever, inflammation and jaw stiffness.
  • The bacteria can also cause the partially erupted tooth to decay because normal oral hygiene is not possible due to the hard to reach location.
  • Constantly inflamed gums will be hard to keep clean.

The procedure

  1. The dentist will meet with you before the procedure to discuss it with you. Be sure to mention any medications you may be taking for other conditions or any health problems that you may have.
  2. Local anaesthesia will be administered to numb the teeth and the surrounding area
  3. If required, an incision into the gum is made in order to expose and reach the whole tooth. The tooth may be cut into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove.
  4. The procedure duration varies from a few minutes to about an hour.
  5. The wound is sutured to help with the healing process. These sutures may dissolve after a few days or you will be advised to visit the clinic again to have them removed.
  6. Bleeding form the site is normal for the first few hours.
  7. Once the anaesthesia wears off, the jaw may become stiff and sore. You will be prescribed some painkillers and in some cases, even an antibiotic will be prescribed. Take your medicines as prescribed and don’t wait for the pain to set in before you start taking them.
  8. A cold pack will help with the swelling and pain.
  9. Patients who have had wisdom teeth removal are often advised to eat soft foods for a few days, and to avoid smoking and alcohol to encourage healing.

Follow your dentist’s instructions to speed up your recovery and before you know it, you will be back to your normal routine. Rest is important and do not exercise 2-3 days after the surgery. Maintaining proper hygiene is also imperative to quick healing.
Although healing time varies from person to person, it generally takes between 3-4 weeks for the gums to heal completely.

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