Wisdom Teeth Extractions
Wisdom Teeth: A Comprehensive Guide by Robina Quays Dental Care
Introduction to Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of teeth to appear, typically emerging in late adolescence or early adulthood. Although the average person develops four wisdom teeth, there are variations, with some individuals having fewer or, occasionally, extra wisdom teeth.
The Evolutionary Perspective
Historically, wisdom teeth were essential for our ancestors who consumed a coarser diet that necessitated robust teeth. Today, due to evolutionary changes and alterations in diet, many individuals find their jaws are not large enough to accommodate these teeth, leading to potential dental issues.
Reasons for Wisdom Teeth Removal
At Robina Quays Dental Care, we recognise several key reasons for the removal of wisdom teeth, especially when they present oral health challenges:
- Limited Space for Eruption: Often, the jaw doesn’t have enough room for these teeth to emerge properly, causing crowding or misalignment.
- Impaction Issues: Wisdom teeth can become impacted, either partially or fully trapped in the jawbone or gums, leading to pain and potential infection.
- Risk of Damage to Adjacent Teeth: If wisdom teeth do not have enough space to emerge properly, they can exert undue pressure on adjacent teeth, potentially leading to damage or misalignment.
- Infection and Cyst Formation: In some cases, cysts or infections can develop around a wisdom tooth, necessitating its extraction.
- Discomfort and Pain: A wisdom tooth causing significant discomfort or pain may need to be extracted.
- Gum Infection (Pericoronitis): This condition arises when the gum tissue around the wisdom tooth becomes infected and inflamed.
- Preventive Removal: In some instances, early extraction is advisable to prevent future problems, especially if the roots are not fully developed.
- Inadequate Oral Hygiene Accessibility: Wisdom teeth can be challenging to clean effectively, increasing the risk of decay and gum disease.
- Orthodontic Considerations: For individuals undergoing or planning orthodontic treatment, the extraction of wisdom teeth may be necessary to prevent crowding and ensure optimal outcomes.
- OPG X-Ray: A comprehensive full-mouth X-ray (orthopantomogram) is essential to evaluate the position and condition of the wisdom teeth, identify any damage, infection, or proximity to critical nerves.
- CBCT Scan: For complex cases, particularly where the roots are near vital nerves, Robina Quays Dental Care may recommend a Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) scan for a more detailed assessment.
The Extraction Procedure
- Sedation Options: We offer various sedation options, including local anaesthesia, nitrous sedation, IV sedation, and general anaesthesia, to ensure patient comfort and cater to the complexity of each case.Procedure Experience: During the extraction, patients will be fully numbed to ensure a pain-free experience.
- Post-Operative Instructions: Detailed aftercare instructions will be provided to facilitate a smooth recovery, along with prescribed medication to aid in healing.
Recovery and Healing
- Healing Duration: On average, the healing process following wisdom teeth extraction takes about 3-4 days.
- Support and Documentation: Robina Quays Dental Care provides necessary medical certificates post-treatment and offers comprehensive support throughout the recovery period.
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of teeth to develop and emerge in the mouth. They are located at the back of the mouth and usually appear in late adolescence or early adulthood.
Wisdom teeth typically emerge between the ages of 17 and 25. However, the timing can vary significantly among individuals, and some people may never develop wisdom teeth.
Wisdom teeth are often removed because they can cause problems when there is insufficient space in the mouth for them to emerge properly. They can become impacted (trapped beneath the gum line), leading to pain, infection, and potential damage to adjacent teeth. Removal is also considered if they contribute to crowding or are difficult to clean, increasing the risk of decay and gum disease.
Signs that wisdom teeth may need to be removed include pain or discomfort in the back of the mouth, swelling or tenderness of the gums near the back teeth, recurring infections in the gum tissue surrounding the wisdom teeth, and difficulties with chewing or opening the mouth.
The procedure for removing wisdom teeth varies depending on whether the teeth are erupted or impacted. For erupted wisdom teeth, the procedure is similar to a standard tooth extraction. For impacted wisdom teeth, a more complex surgical procedure may be required, involving making incisions in the gum to access and remove the tooth. Both procedures typically involve local anaesthesia, and sedation options may be available.
During the procedure, local anaesthesia is used to numb the area, so the patient should not feel pain. Post-procedure discomfort is common but usually manageable with pain medication. Some swelling and bruising may also occur but typically subside within a few days.
Local anaesthesia is commonly used to numb the area around the wisdom teeth. For more complex cases or for patients with dental anxiety, sedation options like nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedatives, or intravenous sedation can be used to provide relaxation and comfort.
The recovery period varies but generally takes a few days to a week. Patients can usually resume normal activities within a couple of days, but complete healing of the gums may take several weeks.
Potential complications from wisdom teeth include impaction, infection, damage to adjacent teeth, cysts or tumours, and gum disease. Impacted wisdom teeth can also lead to chronic pain and complications with orthodontic treatments designed to straighten other teeth.
Keeping wisdom teeth is an option if they are healthy, fully erupted, correctly positioned, and can be cleaned as part of daily hygiene practices. Regular dental check-ups are important to monitor the health and positioning of wisdom teeth.
Preparation for wisdom teeth surgery involves a pre-surgical consultation, where your dentist or oral surgeon will review your medical history and explain the procedure. You may be advised to fast for a certain period before the surgery if sedation or general anaesthesia is planned. It’s also recommended to arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure and to plan for rest and recovery time following the surgery.
During recovery from wisdom teeth surgery, it’s common to experience swelling, bruising, and discomfort, which can be managed with prescribed or over-the-counter pain relief medications. You’ll need to eat soft foods and avoid strenuous activity for a few days. Follow all post-operative instructions provided by your dentist or surgeon, including how to clean the surgical site and manage swelling.
After wisdom teeth removal, you should eat soft, easy-to-chew foods and avoid hot, spicy, or hard foods that might irritate the surgical site. Gradually reintroduce normal foods into your diet as healing progresses and it becomes comfortable to do so.
Preventing infection involves following good oral hygiene practices and adhering to the post-operative care instructions given by your dentist or surgeon. This includes gentle rinsing with warm salt water, avoiding smoking and alcohol, and not disturbing the surgical site with your tongue or fingers.
Contact your dentist or oral surgeon if you experience severe pain, excessive bleeding, persistent swelling, fever, or any signs of infection. Also, if you suspect complications like dry socket or if there’s no improvement in symptoms several days post-extraction, it’s important to seek dental advice.
Risks associated with wisdom teeth removal include dry socket, infection, nerve damage (though rare), bleeding, and reactions to anaesthesia. Your dentist or oral surgeon will discuss these risks with you before the procedure.
The cost of wisdom teeth removal varies depending on factors such as the number of teeth to be removed, the complexity of the case, and the type of anaesthesia used. Dental insurance often covers a portion of the cost, but it’s best to consult with your dental office for specific pricing.
Many dental insurance plans cover at least part of the cost of wisdom teeth removal, especially when it’s deemed medically necessary. Coverage details can vary, so it’s important to check your individual insurance policy or consult with your insurance provider.
There is some debate among dental professionals about whether wisdom teeth contribute to crowding of the front teeth. Some believe that wisdom teeth can exert pressure on other teeth as they emerge, potentially leading to misalignment.
Impacted wisdom teeth are relatively common. Many people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth, as there is often not enough room in the jaw for these teeth to emerge properly. Impaction can lead to various complications, making monitoring and potential removal important.