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Wisdom Tooth Removal by an Experienced Dental Team

– Dr. Jennifer Silver

wisdom teeth extraction

Do I need my wisdom teeth removed?

Wisdom teeth are the molars found at the very back corners of your mouth. They are usually the last of your teeth to erupt, with the average patient developing them in their late teens or early twenties.
Some people never develop wisdom teeth while for others, they may erupt normally – just like your other molars did – and cause no problems. However, in many cases, as wisdom teeth grow in, they become impacted (fail to emerge) due to a lack of adequate space in the jaw. If they do grow, they may end up crowding out your other teeth, affecting your natural dental alignment.

Wisdom teeth removal is often suggested when:

  • The wisdom teeth are impacted (meaning they cannot erupt and become trapped in your jawbone or gum).
  • They grow in at the wrong angle due to crowding with your other teeth.
  • There is not enough space in your jaw.
  • Your wisdom teeth have developed cavities.

If they aren’t removed, wisdom teeth can cause swelling, gum soreness and eventually, acute pain. Impacted teeth are very difficult to clean and as such,are vulnerable to tooth decay, recurring infections and may even damage the surrounding bone structure.

To prevent potential future issues, wisdom tooth removal is sometimes suggested even if the impacted teeth aren’t currently posing a problem.

What can I expect from the wisdom tooth removal process?

Wisdom tooth (teeth) extraction is a surgical procedure to remove one or more of your wisdom teeth. Depending on the complexity of the situation, removal can be done by an oral surgeon or one of our dentist and either under general or local anesthetic. Because each patient’s case is unique, our dentist will first need to take an x-ray before deciding on the best course of action.

During wisdom teeth removal, our dentist will:

  • Make a minor incision in your gum to access the tooth (if it hasn’t already erupted.) A small bone covering the tooth may also need to be removed.
  • Divide the tooth into sections to make removal easier and minimize any potential damage to the surrounding bone.
  • Extract the tooth.
  • Clean the extraction site of any tooth or bone debris.
  • Close the wound to promote healing using dissolvable stitches
  • Place a gauze over the wound site to assist in the formation of a blood clot.

The procedure times for wisdom teeth removal vary from patient to patient. While simple procedures can take only a few minutes, more complex situations will require a longer time period.

What can I do to prepare for my wisdom tooth removal?

A wisdom tooth extraction is almost always performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning that you will be able to go home the same same day. You will receive detailed instructions from our dentist on how to prepare prior to and on the day of your procedure. Here is an overview:

  • You will be required to fast on the night before your surgery. As with most outpatient oral surgeries, you shouldn’t eat anything 8-12 hours prior to your wisdom tooth removal procedure.
  • Arrange for transportation to and from your surgery as the side-effects of the anesthesia will mean that you won’t be able to drive yourself home.
  • If you are taking any prescribed medications, make sure to inquire whether or not you should take them before surgery.

What is the recovery period for wisdom tooth removal?

After having your wisdom teeth removed, it’s normal to experience a certain degree of pain and swelling as well as some bleeding. Before leaving the hospital or dental clinic, you will be asked to:

  • Keep pressure on the gauze so that a blood clot is able to form in the tooth socket. Blood clots are a very important part of the healing process so you must be careful not to dislodge them. The gauze will need to be replaced every 20-30 minutes.
  • Not to consume any solid foods, alcohol, cigarettes, soda or hot beverages in the first few days following your procedure.
  • If an incision has been made, your dentist will let you know how long the stitches will take to dissolve but this usually occurs within 7-10 days after surgery.

The typical wisdom tooth recovery time is 3-4 days, although healing can take up to one week. The recovery period is highly dependent on how badly the wisdom teeth were impacted and the angle at which they were growing.

There are plenty of things you can do to make shorten the recovery time:

  • Stay away from rigorous activity for up to a week as you don’t want to dislodge the blood clot.
  • Prescription painkillers will help with any discomfort. The pain should peak at about 72 hours after surgery and then subside.
  • Prevention of post-op swelling is key so as soon as you get home, place an ice pack on your jaw.(15 minutes on/15 minutes off.) Don’t wait until the swelling has already started!
  • Rinse your mouth regularly with warm salt water to keep the extraction site clean and infection-free.

Our team of Calgary based dentists believe that communication is essential to good dental care and we strive to create a trusting and comfortable environment in which our patients can freely express their concerns. We will only begin with your wisdom tooth removal procedure after a comprehensive examination and after informing you of all your options. We encourage our patients to take an active part in their treatment choices and tailor our services to your specific needs and requirements.

To find out more about our wisdom tooth removal procedures, give us a call at 403-253-1248 or email us at info@macleodtraildental.ca. We’d love for you to drop by!

Services are provided by General Dentists