Having your wisdom teeth removed is almost a rite of passage. At some stage, most people will begin to experience pain in the back of their jaw and seek the help of their dentist shortly after.
But even with a common procedure, it can be hard to know what to expect – and not knowing what to expect can cause a bit of anxiety! That’s why TLC Dental has put together this comprehensive guide to getting wisdom teeth removed.
Read on to find out more and put your mind at ease.
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are your final set of molars – they come after baby molars and adult molars. They usually make themselves known in your mouth with inconsistent jaw pain and headaches around the late teens or early twenties. We call them ‘wisdom’ teeth because they appear around the time you wise up… theoretically!
You don’t need to have any molars fall out to be replaced with wisdom teeth. It’s simply an extra molar that grows in each corner of your mouth. You will generally have four wisdom teeth.
Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
The surgical removal of wisdom teeth has become a common practise in Australia. That’s because wisdom teeth usually cause problems if allowed to erupt and remain in your mouth. If your wisdom teeth are misaligned, they can crowd your mouth and damage adjacent teeth – which feels very painful! Even if your wisdom teeth are well-aligned, they can be hard to reach with a toothbrush. That means they may trap food and increase the chances of a tooth infection. Your dentist will likely suggest you have your wisdom teeth removed.
Does getting your wisdom teeth removed hurt?
No – especially not at TLC Dental! You can opt to have your wisdom teeth removed in a hospital under a general anaesthetic or with a local anaesthetic ‘in the chair’ at the dentist. Sometimes you will be medically required to take one option – for example, you may need to have your wisdom teeth removed under general anaesthetic if they are badly impacted.
With a general anaesthetic, you won’t notice a thing – you’ll simply wake up without wisdom teeth. If you book in with your dentist, you’ll receive a local anaesthetic to numb your face and mouth. Your dentist will then usually remove the top and bottom wisdom teeth from one side of your mouth to allow you to chew on the other side. In a few weeks when it’s healed, you’ll come back to the dentist and have the other side treated. You may feel a little discomfort, but this option is far more cost-effective and still totally pain-free. Sedatives options are also available.
What does an erupted wisdom tooth mean?
A wisdom tooth has erupted when it breaks through the surface of your gum. A non-erupted wisdom tooth can still be removed, but the surgical process is slightly more complex and usually requires general anaesthetic in a hospital setting.
What’s the difference between impacted wisdom teeth removal and non-impacted wisdom teeth removal?
An impacted wisdom tooth does not have enough space to erupt properly. While a non-impacted wisdom tooth emerges from your gum at a safe, vertical angle, an impacted wisdom tooth may be diagonal or almost horizontal before it even breaks the surface. It will therefore push against the rest of your teeth as it develops and cause a deal of pain. Sometimes an impacted wisdom tooth will be problem-free – but usually they need to be removed ASAP.
What happens after wisdom teeth removal?
After you leave the dentist, you’ll need a friend or family member to drive you home if you were given a sedative. Once home, you will rest up and be confined to soft foods only for about a week. You should avoid alcohol, caffeine, smoking and the use of straws. If you’re worried about pain, you might be wondering how to feel better after getting your wisdom teeth removed – your dentist will likely suggest painkillers and the use of an icepack. Other than that, you can feel better by laying on the couch, watching Netflix and eating ice cream!
TLC Dental is a well-established clinic offering wisdom teeth removal services in five locations across Perth. Reach out today to find out what we can do to help!