What are wisdom teeth?
Your wisdom teeth (commonly termed as third molars) are the last adult teeth located at the back of the mouth. Their eruption commonly occurs between 18 to 24 years of age, although exceptions do exist.
Why do your wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Not living up to its name, your wisdom teeth can often grow in disorderly directions. This can lead to multiple problems, such as the following:
As your wisdom teeth are located right at the back of your mouth, they are usually challenging to keep clean. This can lead to an accumulation of plaque and food particles. If this continues for a long period, it can lead to the decay of both your wisdom teeth as well as the teeth in front. This can result in the loss of both teeth, which is a sad situation. Hence, it's recommended that you get your wisdom teeth removed early to prevent tooth decay and tooth loss in the long run.
Swelling and Gum Trauma
The gums around your wisdom teeth can be prone to inflammation, owing to the accumulation of persistent plaque and food particles. This is especially true for improperly-erupted wisdom teeth. Pain, bad breath, and swelling are some of the symptoms that can occur. There can be a fever in critical cases, as well as limited jaw opening, the spread of infection to other areas of your head and neck, and swallowing and/or breathing issues. Prompt medical attention is required for these issues, as they are serious in nature.
Crowding of Teeth
If you experience misaligned wisdom teeth eruption, the remaining teeth can be pushed into the front in a disorganised manner. This leads to malpositioned teeth, impacting the way you look, bite, talk, and even your oral hygiene. Patients who have previously gotten their teeth straightened are most vulnerable to this, as all their efforts can be reversed in this situation.
If left to grow in unideal circumstances, cysts or tumours can develop around an impacted wisdom tooth in rare cases. If you leave them to expand, they can demolish your surrounding jaw bone and infect the neighbouring teeth. This will require more complex and extensive treatment.
Considering all the potential problems listed above, there are multiple clear and significant benefits of timely wisdom tooth removal. This procedure is recommended to be carried out during your teenage years before the roots of your wisdom teeth develop and embed into your jawbone. The reason for this is that early removal can be quick and easy. Healing is also usually enhanced for younger patients, as are the chances of lower complications.
Are there any risks associated with removing your wisdom teeth?
- Owing to the nature of the procedure, symptoms such as facial swelling, overlying skin discolouration, and pain and jaw stiffness can manifest up to two weeks later. Therefore, you might need to take a break from work or school. The first three days are when the symptoms are at their worst, and gradual enhancements follow that.
- As the surgery takes place, you stand a small risk of accidentally damaging your adjacent teeth and jaw. Do note that this is highly unlikely, as you're under the diligent care of our providers.
- In certain cases, after the procedure, there might be infection or inflammation in the area. This risk can be greatly reduced by strictly following the post-operative care instructions provided by us.
- There's a possibility that your lower lip, cheek or tongue undergo temporary or permanent altered sensations, due to the removal of the lower wisdom teeth. This risk depends on the proximity of your wisdom tooth to your nerves. An initial consultation with an X-ray or Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) scan [link to CBCT in digital dentistry] will help your dentist discuss this in detail with you.
What to expect at my first wisdom tooth removal consultation?
Examination of your concerns
Upon attending your non-obligatory wisdom tooth removal consultation, you can be assured that you will be placed under the precise care of our provider at Nuffield Dental Jewel. They will discuss all your personal concerns in detail while considering your health, dental and financial circumstances.
Complete dental assessment
The condition of your general health, and your teeth and gums will be completely assessed. This can include taking the required X-rays and/or CBCT scans in order to establish the precise position of your wisdom teeth and the surrounding structures.
Personalised treatment plan
Our team of providers will proceed to give you an in-depth explanation of the benefits and risks associated with the removal of each of your wisdom teeth, as well as the procedure involved. They can customise a plan for your specific needs, leaving no room for doubt.
What is the wisdom teeth removal procedure?
Before your wisdom tooth removal, the concerned area will be thoroughly numbed with a local anaesthetic. This ensures that you don't feel any pain during the complete procedure.
You may also be administered sedation in advance or general anaesthesia. This is dependent on your personalised treatment plan.
Removal of your Wisdom Tooth
A small surgical procedure might be required, depending on where your wisdom tooth and surrounding bone is positioned. In this case, a small area of your overlying gum will be lifted to access your wisdom tooth.
Your tooth might need to be sectioned for efficient removal. You might feel some pressure and vibrations and hear cracking noises, but there shouldn't be any pain throughout the procedure.
Upon removing the tooth, the area will be thoroughly sterilised, and your gums will be stitched back together.
Once the procedure is done,
- You can expect little bleeding from the wound, which can be controlled by biting down firmly on a piece of gauze.
- The overlying skin might develop facial swelling and discolouration, which will increase for the first three days following the procedure, and hence subside. It might not be possible to open your mouth as wide as usual for a few days.
- Your dentist is likely to prescribe painkillers, antibiotics, and an antiseptic mouthwash to prevent the development of any postoperative complications.
- You will be recommended to sustain good oral hygiene, refrain from vigorous rinsing, stick to a soft diet, and stay away from smoking and alcohol. Additionally, it would help if you avoided vigorous exercise for a couple of days (at the minimum) post the procedure to reduce the risk of complications.