What To Expect Before, During And After A Wisdom Tooth Removal

Noting quite causes as much fear at the dentist’s office as being told that you need to have a tooth pulled. Dental extractions are normally fairly straightforward, but patients are understandably anxious about the prospect of having a tooth removed. Some become so frightened that they do everything that they can to avoid visiting the dentist and booking that all-important extraction procedure, and this can put their dental health and even overall wellbeing at further risk. This is because dental problems that are untreated, particularly those that result in infection, can have an impact on other systems in the body.

woman smiling in the dental clinic

About wisdom tooth extractions

When it comes to dental extractions, wisdom tooth removal is by far the most common. These teeth, located at the very back of our mouth, often cause problems since they usually don’t erupt until we are in our late teenage years or even our early twenties. By this point, most of the space on the gums has already been accounted for and this means that there may not be enough room for the wisdom teeth to come through. When this happens, the tooth may erupt at an odd angle, disrupt other teeth or become stuck which is known as impaction. Infections and abscesses are common.

If your wisdom teeth are impacted or regularly causing you problems such as infection, our dentist will probably recommend that you have them removed.

What to expect before a wisdom tooth removal

Being prepared ahead of any dental treatment can substantially reduce any anxiety that you feel about the procedure. Ahead of your procedure our dentist will undertake a comprehensive analysis of your mouth and teeth to determine the level of impaction and location of the wisdom teeth, plus any interference they may have made on surrounding teeth. This process often involves taking x-rays of your teeth so that our dentist can assess what is happening below the gum line, an area that is invisible to the naked eye.

Once our dentist has the full picture of the extent of the problem with your wisdom teeth, you will be booked in for the procedure.

What to expect during a wisdom tooth removal

A wisdom tooth extraction is performed using anesthetic meaning that you will not be in any pain or discomfort during your procedure. If you are particularly nervous or anxious, you may be offered sedative drugs in addition to the anesthetic, or in some cases, you may be recommended to have a general anesthetic which renders you unconscious for the duration of your extraction.

Once your medications have been administered and you are calm and relaxed, or in the case of a general anesthetic, asleep, our dentist will widen the socket that contains the wisdom tooth to be removed. This involve placing a special tool into the socket and rocking it back and forth to make it wider. In some instances, it may be necessary to make an incision into the gum. Once the socket is sufficiently enlarged, our dentist should be able to grasp the tooth, break the root and pull it free.

Ideally a dentist will always try to remove a tooth whole. Nevertheless, there are occasions whereby it is necessary to break a tooth into smaller pieces and then remove it section by section. This will only occur if there is no way that the tooth will come out complete.

If you are having multiple wisdom teeth removed, this usually takes place in one surgery and the process detailed above will be repeated until all wisdom teeth to be extracted have been removed. Our dentist may need to place sutures into the wound to help the gum heal.

What to expect after a wisdom tooth removal

It may take some time for the effects of the anesthetic to wear off after your wisdom tooth removal. Once they do, you will probably experience some pain and soreness in and around your mouth. Our dentist will probably prescribe pain relief to take for the few days, after which, regular, over-the-counter pain medications should be sufficient.

You should also expect your face to be puffy and swollen, an effect which will probably last for 2-4 days. Our dentist will give you specific aftercare advice which should be strictly adhered to if you aren’t to experience any complications after your procedure.

Soft foods and room temperature drinks will help minimize trauma to the affected area and enable the healing process to get underway.

If you have been recommended for a wisdom tooth extraction, contact us and our dentist will be happy to talk you through the entire procedure from start to finish and answer any questions that you may have.