So, you lived through the pain of an impacted wisdom tooth, you consulted your dentist, and now you are about to go back in to have it removed.
Smart move. Like most things, it’s always best to get right at the core of a problem fast, especially one that can be as painful as an impacted wisdom tooth.
Unless you are among the fortunate few, of course, who can live on without having wisdom teeth (the third molars in the very back of your mouth) removed.
Maybe they have grown in completely. Perhaps they’re positioned correctly, you can bite with them, and they don’t impact the other teeth. And very importantly, you can clean them properly, so nasty bacteria doesn’t build up back there, which can lead to a host of other problems (like gum disease) in the mouth.
Who Needs Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Most of us aren’t that fortunate, though. Wisdom teeth can grow at odd angles in the jaw (sometimes, horribly, horizontally), jutting against the other back teeth. If the wisdom teeth remain below the gums, and don’t emerge normally, they could become trapped, or impacted, within your jaw. That can lead to serious infections.
And if they become partially emerged, that can also cause trouble – the hard-to-reach alleyway between the row of teeth at the back of your mouth becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, with all the nasty side effects that come with that.
So don’t wait, get on it. Have them removed. Go see one of the dentists on the HealthOne team, professionals with decades of experience, to do an examination.
Do you have pain there? Damage to nearby teeth? Gum disease? Tooth decay? Or even worse – fluid-filled cysts, or tumors? There are several signs that show you need to have them removed, as we have discussed before. The dentist might take an x-ray (especially if the wisdom teeth are buried below the gum line), then plot a strategy to deal with it.
Dr. Sunny Gill at HealthOne always talks about how it’s best to have a dentist examine wisdom teeth during a person’s teen years.
“We are more likely to catch issues early,” he says. “At that point the teeth are developing but they aren’t fully formed, roots haven’t fully developed, so if we can remove them when they are smaller they tend to be easier to take out. And the healing is much better for younger people as opposed to people in their 30s and 40s.”
What Happens During Wisdom Teeth Removal?
When you arrive at HealthOne for your appointment to have wisdom teeth removed the dentist first will explain the procedure to you. That’s your time to ask questions, so you know what to expect.
Then, the dentist will typically apply a topical numbing product to the area where the tooth will be extracted. It’s an out-patient procedure.
“The procedure is typically done under local anesthesia, unless there are complications,” Dr. Gill says. “Most people don’t fall under the category where they are put to sleep. Usually it’s localize it and they come out quick.”
The procedure takes anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on how complicated it is. Dr. Gill even spoke about one patient who, thinking the procedure was going to take awhile, popped on her headphones, closed her eyes, but barely got through one Mariah Carey song.
“We were done in a few minutes,” he says. Dr. Gill adds that the longest wisdom tooth extraction he was involved in lasted just over an hour.
How Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Surgery at the dentist’s office will likely be delayed if there is an infection that needs to be cleared up first.
The surgeon will make an incision in the gum to expose the tooth and bone. They will remove any bone that might be covering access to the tooth root. The dentist will remove any tissue connecting the tooth to the jawbone.
Then they’ll remove the tooth. Sometimes they’ll cut the tooth into pieces, if that makes extraction easier. The dentist will then clean the site of any tooth or bone, stitch up the incision, then place a gauze on there to control bleeding.
Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Painful?
Normally, patients are then sent home with a prescription for pain relief. Other patients might just need over-the-counter medication like Advil. Expect to feel some pain the day of the procedure, then discomfort over that first week after.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Recovery
If you are given local anesthesia, you’ll recover for a short period of time in the dental chair. If you were given something stronger, like sedation anesthesia or general anesthesia (where you were put to sleep), you’ll be taken to a recovery room after the procedure.
Follow the instructions from your dentist when it comes to recovery. Remove and replace the gauze as directed. Use an ice pack to minimize any swelling or bruising. Make sure you rest that day – no strenuous activity.
A blood clot needs to form in the socket where the tooth came out. Bite on the gauze for half an hour afterwards, and avoid touching the operative site.
Drink water – but no hot liquid like coffee, or anything alcoholic, for 24 hours. Don’t smoke for at least 72 hours after surgery. And don’t brush your teeth or rinse your mouth with mouthwash 24 hours after surgery.
“Stick to soft foods. Avoid chewing hard, crunchy food, or small things that might get stuck, like nuts or rice,” Dr. Gill says. “And avoid using anything that can cause suction in the mouth, like sipping through a straw.”
Stitches are typically the dissolvable ones, and are usually gone in 10-14 days.
Wisdom Teeth Recovery Time
It depends on the patient, of course, but most people recover in three or four days. If the procedure was more complicated, recovery time can be a week.
Remember, the wound from the surgery needs to be kept clean (rinse with salt and water), so that it doesn’t become infected while it heals.
Talk to your dentist, but you likely won’t require a follow-up session, unless you need to have stitches removed, or there are complications like swelling, bleeding, or pain.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Toronto
As you can see, if you are in the right hands, the road to less pain is a straightforward one. Wisdom teeth removal can be a complicated procedure, so you need experienced dentists to oversee that.
HealthOne dentists will communicate with you through the entire procedure, through all the steps, and are there for you if any emergencies pop up afterwards.