15 November 2018
Why Do We Remove Wisdom Teeth?
The eruption of wisdom teeth is a major milestone of the human mouth transformation that takes place between the age of 17 to 21. Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, give more chewing power to you and help you enjoy hard foods better.
However, the teeth often grow incorrectly or abnormally and lead to many dental issues. In such cases, wisdom teeth removal becomes the only option to resolve those dental issues.
Everything You Need to Know About Wisdom Tooth Removal
The Role Of Wisdom Teeth
Anthropologists suggest that wisdom teeth proves the evolution theory and the diet of our ancestors. Rough food, including meats, nuts, roots, and leaves, needed more chewing power and that resulted in the development of wisdom teeth in the ancestors.
The modern diet that consists of softer foods and the use of spoons, knives, and forks reduced the need for wisdom teeth. Today, evolutionary biologists consider wisdom teeth as an organ that became functionless due to the evolution and changed food habits.
Note that wisdom teeth do not erupt for some people. Even for people who do, the numbers differ from one to four. In rare cases, people may get more than four wisdom teeth.
Though it can give you more chewing power, the removal of the teeth does not significantly limit your eating adventures.
Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Always Necessary?
Many people think that getting your wisdom teeth removed is mandatory. They believe that going through the pain, discomfort, and bleeding that comes with extraction is necessary. However, this is only sometimes the case. While dentists often suggest patients get their wisdom teeth extracted before they cause problems, it’s ultimately a decision that varies depending on individual circumstances.
Recent research shows that in Australia, the rate of wisdom teeth removal may be higher than necessary. Additionally, a significant proportion of these removals result in hospital admission due to complications arising from wisdom teeth removal – a rate that is seven times higher than average and is on the rise.
This could be attributed to many dentists removing asymptomatic wisdom teeth that don’t cause the patients any discomfort and show no signs of disease.
It is estimated that by stopping these unnecessary removals, Australians could collectively save over 500 million dollars a year – not to mention days taken off work and other indirect costs.
While performing more wisdom teeth removals may benefit us financially, we know that this is not in the patient’s best interest.
We only recommend removing your wisdom teeth after completing a full mouth evaluation, including x-rays to see if your wisdom teeth are stuck or impacted and can damage your jaw, gums, and mouth. Their removal might also be necessary if your mouth is too small to accommodate them or your teeth are growing at an angle. Other problems that will necessitate their removal include cysts in your jaw, sinus issues, cavities, and poor alignment.
Signs You Need a Wisdom Teeth Extraction
An impacted wisdom tooth may show any of the following characteristics or oral health conditions:
- It grows towards the second molar.
- Growth towards the back of the mouth.
- Grow straight up but trapped within the jawbone.
- Grow at a right angle to the second molar – “lying down” within the jawbone.
When you have an impacted wisdom tooth, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Infection or gum disease.
- Trapping of food debris behind the tooth.
- Damage to surrounding bone or adjacent tooth.
- Tooth decay in partially erupted wisdom tooth.
- Development of cysts around the wisdom tooth.
- Ineffective orthodontic treatment results for other teeth.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should consult with your dentist. They will take an X-ray of your wisdom teeth and advise the need to extract it to save your other teeth.
Wisdom teeth extraction for young patients is easier and less painful than it is for older people. The timely removal of wisdom teeth is important as late removals are complicated and cause excess pain. The recovery period for older people tends to be longer compared to youngsters.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Procedure
Your dentist or oral surgeon will analyse your tooth’s position and stage of development during the pre-extraction examination. The complexity of extraction varies according to the wisdom tooth’s position and growth stage.
Dentists use different procedures to remove the wisdom tooth based on the position and growth stage.
Fully Erupted Wisdom Tooth
These wisdom tooth can be removed like any other tooth. Patients recover quickly after the extraction. Sometimes, dentists ask people to remove fully grown and functional wisdom teeth due to the inability to clean and maintain them. Such wisdom teeth can affect oral health and make you vulnerable to various diseases. Many agree that wisdom teeth care is challenging and ask dentists to remove it.
Partially Erupted Wisdom Tooth
Such teeth are mostly covered by gum tissue. Dentists make a flap cut in the gum to uncover the tooth. They remove the tooth with the help of a dental elevator and put sutures on the gum flaps for healing and recovery. Dentists extract the tooth under local anaesthesia, completed in a few minutes.
Partially Impacted Wisdom Tooth
The extraction of a partially impacted wisdom tooth is more complicated and can only be performed by specialists and oral surgeons. The dental surgeons perform a flap cut in the gum to access the tooth. Later, dentists perform some bone removal around the tooth.
With the help of surgical tools, dentists cut the tooth into multiple pieces and remove it with the help of a dental elevator. Dentists place a bone substitute in the socket for quick healing if required, and finally reposition the flap and suture for recovery. The surgical process minimises issues such as trauma and ensures a speedy recovery.
Fully Impacted Wisdom Tooth
A fully impacted wisdom tooth requires the most complex extraction process. The wisdom tooth is fully trapped in the jawbone, requiring an incision through the gums. Furthermore, dentists remove a portion of the jawbone that lies over the tooth to access the wisdom tooth.
With the help of micro-instruments, dentists divide the tooth into multiple pieces and remove them using a dental elevator. They also insert a bone grafting material into the socket for total bone healing. Finally, the dentist will reposition the flap and put in sutures for the recovery.
What Happens After the Procedure
Dentists administer local or general anaesthesia to their patients during the wisdom tooth extraction. You can relax in the dental chair if you have received local anaesthesia.
After the extraction, people who have received general or sedation anaesthesia are taken to the recovery room.
You may experience some bleeding on the first day of wisdom tooth removal. You can bite down a clean, moist gauze on the empty tooth socket to control the bleeding. Moistened tea bags are another great alternative to control the bleeding.
Try to avoid spitting and rinsing for 24 hours to prevent the bleeding. You can also avoid drinking hot liquids and “sucking” actions for quick recovery.
Some patients experience facial swelling when the tooth is extracted. You can place an ice pack, wrapped in a clean cloth, on the face where you are experiencing swelling. Please put it on for 10 minutes and keep it away for 20 minutes. Repeat the process multiple times during the initial 24-hour period.
Dentists may give you pain medication to alleviate pain. If they do not provide you with prescribed medication, you can use over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen to manage the pain.
Rest for the entire day after the surgery. From the next day, you can resume the normal activities. However, avoiding strenuous activities for a week is highly recommended to prevent bleeding and swelling.
While drinking lots of water after the procedure is encouraged, you should avoid drinking carbonated, alcoholic, and caffeinated drinks for the first 24 hours. Also, you must eat only soft foods for 24 hours and avoid hard, spicy, and hot foods until completely recovered.
You must also avoid brushing your teeth, rinsing your mouth, and using mouthwash in the first 24 hours after the surgery. Dentists will advise you to brush after 24 hours. It would help if you gently brushed around the surgical wound for a week to avoid irritating it. Gently rinse your mouth with slightly warm salt water after every meal for a week to ensure quick healing and recovery.
When To Call Your Dental Surgeon
Beyond the best efforts, you might experience some dental emergencies during recovery. If you experience any of the following symptoms or signs, do not hesitate to call your dental surgeon:
- Excessive bleeding.
- Difficulty in swallowing or breathing.
- Severe pain, even after using prescribed pain medications.
- Loss of feeling or persistent numbness.
- Swelling beyond two or three days.
- Pus or blood in nasal discharge.
- A bad taste in the mouth, even after rinsing with saltwater.
Note These symptoms and signs indicate nerve damage, an infection, or another complex dental condition.
Consider your overall oral health and remove your wisdom tooth if they impact your other teeth or affect your oral health. Apart from oral issues, wisdom teeth can cause sinus issues, such as sinus pain, congestion, and pain as well.
Struggling With a Wisdom Tooth?
The team at Bay Street Dental Group has great wisdom tooth extraction expertise. After evaluating your wisdom tooth’s position and growth stage, we assure you of safe, painless, and affordable extraction.
Bay Street Dental Group have great expertise in wisdom tooth extraction with our expert dental professionals and state-of-the-art tools. We assure you safe, painless, and affordable extraction after evaluating the position and growth stage of your wisdom tooth.
You can book our wisdom tooth extraction services online or call us on (03) 9646 2577 to schedule an appointment.