Everything You Need to Know About Wisdom Teeth Extractions

BY: Dr. Sandeep Sharma
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Everything You Need to Know About Wisdom Teeth Extractions

It is common for most patients to feel anxious once they are informed that their wisdom teeth must be removed. However, for some, it is a necessary procedure to prevent further dental problems and to maintain good oral health.

Wisdom tooth extractions are a common dental procedure. Most dental professionals recommend it as a preventative measure to protect your oral health and prevent problems with your other teeth. However, many patients don’t know what to expect from the process.

This blog post will outline everything you need to know about wisdom tooth extractions – from the procedure itself, the reasons why it’s necessary, the risks involved, to the recovery. So if you’re curious about wisdom teeth extraction, keep reading!

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

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Wisdom teeth are the last molars located at the back of your mouth. As you age, your mouth goes through changes, just like the rest of your body. For most people, their wisdom teeth or third molars come through around the late teens or early twenties, which is a normal part of oral development. These teeth got their name because they erupt later in life.

Generally, there are two wisdom teeth in the upper jaw and two in the lower jaw. But, some people may only have one to two wisdom teeth or even none for others. For patients who do, dentists usually recommend their wisdom teeth extraction if these teeth cause discomfort.

What Is Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

A wisdom teeth extraction refers to the removal of third molars. Since these teeth are the last to develop and erupt, sometimes there is not enough space for them. This causes some third molars to be impacted.

Dental professionals begin wisdom teeth extraction with the administration of local or general anesthesia. Anesthesia will numb the surgical site and help patients feel more comfortable during the procedure.

The extraction of wisdom teeth may involve making an incision on the gum line to expose the problematic tooth, loosening it and then pulling it using dental tools. In some cases, the dentist may need to cut the wisdom tooth into sections before they can remove it in parts. In general, the extraction process will depend on the tooth’s location and the severity of the case.

Most people feel anxious about wisdom teeth extraction. However, it’s important to understand the reasons why they are needed. In most cases, wisdom tooth extraction can be necessary, particularly if they are causing persistent jaw pain.

Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be
Removed?

Since wisdom teeth are positioned at the very back of the mouth, and they are the last teeth to come out, sometimes, there is not enough space for them to grow normally. When this happens, the development of wisdom teeth can cause some discomfort.

In some cases, mild pain is normal and may subside after a while. During this time, the dentist may suggest monitoring them, and if they determine that the wisdom teeth are not affecting the other adjacent teeth, removal may not be necessary.

However, there are others who experience severe pain. This may be due to the abnormal angulation of the wisdom tooth, which prevents it from erupting or maybe there is not enough space for the tooth, causing it to partially erupt or not erupt at all. These cases are called impacted wisdom teeth. Some also experience severe pain due to the biting of the gum tissue left over wisdom teeth.

Impacted wisdom teeth are more likely to cause other dental problems like oral infection, tooth decay, crowding, or damage to nearby teeth. If you have wisdom teeth that may compromise your dental health, your dentist may recommend having them removed.

How Can I Prepare for the Removal of My Wisdom Teeth?

To better prepare you for your dental procedure, here are a few things you can do before your wisdom teeth removal.

  • Talk to your dentist about what to expect during and after the procedure. Ask them about precautions you should take, such as restrictions on your diet and activities.

  • Fully disclose the medications you’re taking to your dentist. Include the prescription and over-the-counter drugs, herbal supplements, and specific vitamins. Doing so will help avoid any unsafe interactions with the anaesthesia.

  • Fully disclose your alcohol and recreational drug use before the procedure. Believe it or not, a body that is accustomed to them may pose risks during tooth extraction. We can better prepare for this challenge and take the necessary precautions if you let us know in advance.

  • Make sure you have someone who can drive you home after the surgery, as there are instances when you will not be able to drive yourself.

  • Plan for some downtime after the surgery. You will likely need to rest and recover for a few days.

  • Stock up on soft foods like ice cream, smoothies, and mashed potatoes before your wisdom teeth are removed. You will be advised to consume a soft and cold diet for the first couple of days.

  • For ladies, pull your hair back, remove nail polish and jewellery, and don’t wear lipstick to the appointment.

  • If you’re unable to quit smoking, you should at least refrain from smoking for 12 hours prior to surgery. Smoking can increase the risk of complications during and after surgery.

The more you prepare and understand what will take place during the procedure, the less anxious you will feel and the more relaxed you will be during the procedure.

What Can You Expect After Wisdom
Tooth Removal?

Wisdom teeth removal is usually an outpatient procedure, which means you’ll be able to go home on the same day. Depending on what type of anaesthesia you receive during surgery, you may wake up after a few hours, or it may take you longer if you’re given general anaesthesia.

After your wisdom teeth removal, you can expect some discomfort and slight bleeding from your gums, as well as some bruising around the extraction site hours after the surgery. These side effects are expected and should subside after a few days. Swelling, soreness, or difficulty in opening your mouth are also common. During this time, follow your dentist’s care instructions to promote healing and prevent complications such as infection.

We strongly recommend contacting your dentist if you continue to experience severe pain after a few more days following your wisdom tooth extraction. He will assess the situation and provide you with prompt treatment.

Are There Possible Risks with Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

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Generally, wisdom teeth removal doesn’t result in long-term complications. However, as with any surgery, there are potential risks and complications associated. The good news is that most of these complications may be prevented or reduced mainly by following the aftercare instructions provided by your dentist and being vigilant in the days and weeks after your surgery. Some common wisdom teeth removal complications include the following:

  • Severe pain and swelling.
    As mentioned, pain is common and expected after wisdom tooth extraction. Generally, you will feel better after 3-7 days. However, if the discomfort becomes unbearable, it may indicate infection or dry socket.

  • Risk of infection.
    It can happen if bacteria enter the empty socket where your wisdom tooth was previously located. Symptoms of infection include oozing pus, pain, swelling, unpleasant taste, and bad breath in your mouth. Prompt treatment is usually effective in clearing bacterial infections and preventing further complications.

  • Dry socket.
    A dry socket is a serious and painful complication that can happen when the blood clot that forms in the extraction site is dislodged. Without the protective blood clot, the exposed bone and nerves are vulnerable to infection, causing severe discomfort.

  • Difficult mouth opening.
    Since wisdom teeth extraction is usually lengthy, it can cause muscle stiffness resulting in difficulty in opening the mouth. You may experience limited mouth opening temporarily, and this will improve with time. However, in rare cases, there may be more permanent damage to the jaw, leading to chronic pain; if this happens, inform your dentist immediately.

  • Excessive bleeding.
    It’s not unusual for patients to experience intermittent bleeding for 8-12 hours after the procedure. If the bleeding persists beyond that, contact an oral health professional, as this could be a sign that a blood clot has not formed and the bleeding is uncontrolled. While it may seem alarming, excessive bleeding can be easily addressed and prevented.

  • Lip numbness.
    Wisdom tooth extraction is a relatively common procedure, but as with any surgery, certain risks are involved. One rare complication is damage to the inferior alveolar nerve, which runs through the lower jaw and controls sensation in the lip and chin. If this nerve is damaged during wisdom tooth surgery, it can result in numbness in the lips.

In most cases, wisdom tooth surgery is a safe and relatively straightforward procedure. Our professional dentists will take the necessary steps to ensure your safety so you can enjoy a healthy smile with proper care and precautions.

How Can I Manage Pain After Wisdom Tooth Removal Procedure?

One of the most common questions we get from patients is how they can manage pain after wisdom tooth removal. Managing pain is vital for a speedy recovery. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce or help you to handle pain during your recovery period, such as the following:

  • Pain medications.
    Your dentist may prescribe pain medications before or after the procedure. These medications help ease both pain and swelling.

  • Cold compress.
    Swelling can be significantly reduced with a cold compress. To do this, put ice on a freezer bag and gently apply it for about 15 to 20 minutes on the face or cheeks where the extraction site is.

  • Saltwater rinse.
    One of the best things you can do for pain relief after wisdom tooth removal is to rinse your mouth with warm salt water. It will help clean and wash your mouth and also help reduce swelling. Be sure to rinse your mouth a couple of times a day, especially after meals.

  • Limit chewing.
    You should also avoid hard or chewy foods for the first few days, as they can irritate the surgical wound, causing pain or even bleeding.

  • Avoid strenuous activities.
    We highly recommend letting your body rest to allow your mouth and jaw to heal and to avoid putting more pressure that may add more pain later on.

How Soon Can I Recover After Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

It’s difficult to estimate how long the recovery period will be for wisdom tooth extraction because it varies from person to person. Each individual’s healing process is unique, and several factors can affect the timeline. You can expect the recovery time to last anywhere from 7 days to 2 weeks. However, this is just an estimate because some people may heal more quickly while others may take a bit longer. Ultimately, it depends on the complexity of the extraction and the patient’s immune system.

Nevertheless, consult your dentist to know exactly how long you need to rest before gradually returning to your normal activities. Otherwise, forcing yourself may do more harm than good.

How Much Do Wisdom Tooth Removal Cost in Australia?

The cost of wisdom teeth removal may depend on factors like the complexity of your treatment. The less complex your treatment is, the less expensive your treatment will be. The price also varies depending on the number of teeth removed and the dentist’s location.

The cost of wisdom tooth removal in Australia can reach $300 to $600 per tooth. A simple extraction using local anaesthesia for all four teeth may cost up to $2,330. In contrast, you may expect the cost of wisdom teeth extraction under general anaesthesia to be higher, ranging from $1,500 to $3,000 per tooth.

If you are considering wisdom teeth extraction, be sure to ask your dentist about the cost so you can also prepare before the procedure.

Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Covered by Medicare or Dental Insurance?

When it comes to wisdom teeth removal, Medicare typically does not cover the cost of this procedure. Patients will have to pay for it out of pocket. If you have private health insurance, you may be able to claim a portion of the costs, but it is essential to check with your provider first, as coverage or insurance policy can vary.

Final Thoughts

The extraction of wisdom teeth is a routine dental procedure that is often performed to protect the other teeth from the potential risks associated with problematic third molars. There are many reasons why this procedure may be necessary, including the impaction of the wisdom tooth, damage to adjacent teeth, or pain that can be unbearable when overlooked.

The process of wisdom teeth extraction will depend on the position of each wisdom tooth, the patient’s health, and your dentist’s technique. Additionally, wisdom tooth removal has possible risks and complications. Knowing them is essential to avoid such problems and be well prepared for the procedure.

If you need a wisdom tooth extraction or other dental treatments, please book an appointment online or call Clear Choice Dental at (08) 9345 0455 today. We look forward to helping you achieve optimal oral health!

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How Much Does It Cost to Remove a Wisdom Tooth?

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