Did you know that around 5 million people have their wisdom teeth extracted every single year? So if your dentist suggests that you need to undergo wisdom teeth removal, then you’re certainly not alone.
Okay, so that fact probably won’t bring much solace to those who are awaiting their fate because a wisdom tooth extraction is up there along with a root canal as one of the most ‘feared’ dental treatments.
But are you right to be fearful?
Here the team at No Gaps Dental want to put the record straight. We’re going to give you the lowdown on Wisdom teeth removal in Sydney, what to expect before, during, and after treatment and bust some myths along the way. So let’s dive in…
Firstly, what are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that grow at the back of the mouth. They usually push through the gums (erupt) when a person is in their late teens or early twenties, yet they have no real reason to be there as we can chew and function as normal without them. In fact, they’re often called the ‘appendix of the mouth’.
The problem is that in many cases, as wisdom teeth start to develop, they can unleash a number of problems in your mouth. This is why so many dentists recommend wisdom teeth removal. While your wisdom teeth may not be currently bothering you, they can in some cases cause trouble for you and your mouth if you leave them in.
Oh, and the reason they’re called wisdom teeth?
Because they arrive so late at an age where people are presumably older and wiser. That’s the theory anyway!
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So, what problems can wisdom teeth cause?
For our ancestors at least, having three sets of molars was vital for them to be able to eat much of the course, raw foods that were pivotal to their survival. The larger jaw so commonplace in our ancestors was easily able to accommodate these extra teeth. As such they could grow in the mouth normally.
Over the years, however, a combination of a change in diet and natural evolution has meant that we no longer need these third molars. Moreover, because we now naturally have smaller jaws, there simply isn’t enough room for them when they do grow. For this reason, many wisdom teeth become impacted. This occurs when they try to squeeze into a place where there is simply no room. This, in turn, can crowd the rest of your teeth and is why wisdom tooth removal is performed.
Sometimes when there isn’t sufficient room for wisdom teeth to grow naturally, they grow in at an angle or on their side. So not only can they undermine adjacent healthy teeth, they can become lodged or stuck in the jawbone. Ultimately, these situations can cause complications like fluid-filled cysts, pain and significant damage to nearby teeth and bones.
But the problems don’t stop there…
Crooked or misaligned teeth are much harder to clean and can lead to symptoms like severe gum disease which can wreak havoc with your mouth. On top of this, the wisdom teeth themselves can become infected and when they do, wisdom teeth removal is the only option.
This is why some dentists will recommend wisdom tooth extraction in Sydney before they cause any trouble – even if you feel completely fine and show no symptoms.
So now you know why you might need wisdom tooth removal, let’s take a look at what you can expect.
Wisdom teeth removal – The examination
Like most visits to the dentist, wisdom teeth removal in Sydney will typically start with a dental examination.
Whether your wisdom teeth are giving you any discomfort or not, your dentist will want to take a look and see exactly what is going on. Namely – what stage of growth your wisdom teeth are at, where they’re positioned and most importantly, how much room they have to grow. If you are already experiencing discomfort, then your dentist will schedule an appointment to have them removed. Usually, at No Gaps Dental, this is carried out chair-side, however in more complex cases, we can refer you to a specialist oral surgeon to undergo wisdom teeth removal in a hospital setting.
The procedure itself
Fortunately, wisdom teeth removal isn’t something out of a horror movie. You’ll always receive some sort of numbing mechanism so you shouldn’t feel any discomfort. This will either be in the form of:
- A local anaesthetic – Meaning that you remain awake and may feel some pressure but won’t feel discomfort
- Conscious sedation – You remain awake but in a lesser state of consciousness, so you won’t feel or remember much, or
- General anaesthetic – Usually reserved for wisdom tooth removal under a hospital setting where you are asleep and therefore won’t remember anything.
The type of anaesthetic you receive will depend upon a number of factors including
- The difficulty of the procedure
- How anxious or nervous you are or,
- Where you undergo your wisdom teeth removal – e.g. Hospital or chair-side at the dentists.
Typically patients will be asked to avoid eating or drinking for a certain amount of hours prior to oral surgery depending on the type of anaesthetic they receive.
Once any ability to feel pain has been tackled, our team of dentists here at No Gaps Dental or an oral surgeon will use a specialist tool to disconnect and loosen the connective tissue situated around the problem tooth.
Once this is done, the wisdom tooth can often be quickly and easily removed. For more difficult or complex wisdom teeth removal, the tooth or teeth may need to be divided up into sections and taken out piece by piece. Either way, the whole extraction process requires more finesse than force.
Once the offending tooth is extracted, the site will be plugged using a piece of gauze. This is to promote blood clotting and will quickly help the area to heal. If the gum has had to be cut and any bone removed, then the dentist will use either self-dissolvable sutures or sutures that are removed one week later.
The whole process can take anything from a few minutes to twenty minutes or more per tooth depending upon the complexity of the extraction, but in any case, the actual wisdom tooth removal surgery should be comfortable for a patient. In fact, in many instances, extraction serves to alleviate any pain previously felt from an impacted or problem tooth.
Wisdom teeth removal – recovery
Depending upon your level of sedation you may feel a little groggy post-surgery. As a result, you might need someone to drive you home. A little bleeding is also common after any wisdom teeth removal surgery, but this is usually stemmed with a gauze pad and some applied pressure.
Slight bruising and swelling are also commonplace, and this can usually be brought under control quickly using ice packs. This is something our dentist will talk to you about in your treatment plan anyway, as is dealing with any wisdom tooth pain.
Levels of post-procedure pain following wisdom teeth removal will vary depending upon the extent of the extraction/s. However, any discomfort felt should normally be brought under control using over-the-counter painkillers but typically, your gums will be sore to touch for about one week.
In addition to staying hydrated, your dentist may also recommend that you only eat soft foods for the time being so as not to cause or aggravate any further discomfort.
Wisdom teeth removal and dry socket
A dry socket is a condition where either a blood clot does not form, or the blood clot formed over the extraction site has been dislodged. Either way, it may expose nerves and bare bone and as a result, can be very painful.
In these cases, your dentist may put medical paste into the socket to promote speedy healing but in other instances, the socket may need to be closed by trying to pull the tissue over the area. Dry socket after wisdom teeth removal can be avoided by closely following post-op instructions. In particular, avoid drinking through a straw, at least until the area has had a chance to heal.
While undergoing wisdom teeth removal in Sydney shouldn’t be too stressful, there are a few things that you can do to make life a little easier. These include:
- Choose an experienced dentist – Here at No Gaps Dental, for example, our team of dentists across our multiple sites are highly experienced at tooth extraction and have undertaken many tooth removal processes.
- Get the procedure done when you are younger – As you become older, tooth roots will fully form making extractions tougher. Healing also takes longer after wisdom teeth removal as we age. So as a general rule of thumb, the younger you are the easier the process.
So now you know all about the wisdom tooth removal process in Sydney and what to expect, there’s one thing that we haven’t talked about and that’s the wisdom teeth removal cost. Sydney residents should know that prices will vary depending upon a number of factors. These include:
- The complexity of your wisdom teeth removal in Sydney – Cost will obviously increase the more complex the treatment is. For example, a wisdom tooth that is not impacted and is easily extracted will cost less than a tooth that needs to be divided up and taken out in stages.
- Hospital vs chairside – For those who need to undergo hospital treatment, the wisdom teeth removal price in Sydney is likely to be higher because you are paying for the services of a specialist oral surgeon to perform any said extraction or extractions
If you still have your wisdom teeth and would like a dental examination then visit a No Gaps Dental clinic near you. Our team guarantees never to rush you or push you into decisions you aren’t comfortable with.
Instead, we use our knowledge on why wisdom teeth exist coupled with your present and future oral healthcare needs to help you to make an informed dental decision. And, when you’re ready, you can rest assured that we offer some of the most affordable prices for wisdom teeth removal in Sydney. Call today to find out more.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.