Wisdom teeth; we all have them. Some go a whole lifetime without having any issues, whilst others experience pain, infections and swelling in their late teens and early twenties and need to have one or all of them extracted.
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the rear third molars that come through at a more mature age than the rest of your teeth. They are located on your upper and lower jaw. Wisdom teeth can appear by:
- Eruption – coming through with no obstruction
- Partial eruption
- Over eruption – coming through but growing too long
- Impaction – getting suck along the way as a result of the tooth growing at an abnormal angle
Why do wisdom teeth hurt?
Wisdom teeth require removal due to an array of problems they cause, usually due to the lack of space in one’s jaw and mouth. This causes the teeth to erupt at an angle, thereby putting pressure on the surrounding teeth and gums. Further resulting in food and bacteria getting stuck in the difficult to reach places around the wisdom and neighbouring teeth. If the area around the wisdom teeth become infected, it can be extremely painful and may involve swelling of the jaw, pockets of pus developing around the concerned area, difficulty opening the mouth and swallowing and severe pain.
Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Unless the troublesome wisdom teeth are removed by a dentist or oral surgeon, the infection and pain will generally reoccur, progressively get worse and be extremely unpleasant. Tooth decay is also caused by avoiding an extraction of impacted wisdom teeth.
There are many misconceptions about the removal of wisdom teeth, often surrounded by the possible complications that can arise for the procedure. However, with the proper after-care and monitoring, it should not be long after the extraction procedure that you can resume your normal day to day activities.
The extraction procedure can range from being a simple ten to twenty minute appointment to an hour appointment. It all depends on how the tooth is growing and how many teeth are required to be removed.
At Terrigal Dental, most commonly a local anaesthetic is applied so you will not feel a thing. There is also the option of happy gas to assist you to relax before the extraction begins.
To ensure you recover as quickly as possible after a wisdom teeth extraction, the following is often suggested:
- Take pain relieving medication as advised by your dentist or oral surgeon
- Hold warm salty water in your mouth for a couple of minutes each day – do not gargle
- Don’t smoke for 48 hours after the surgery and avoid alcohol
- Consume soft foods until you can open your jaw with ease
My personal experience
Personally, I had all four wisdom extracted in the dental chair. I had been struggling with a swollen jaw and infected third molars for a couple of weeks and tried to put the extraction off as soon as possible, however this only made my symptoms worse. The dentists walked me through the procedure and made me feel extremely comfortable in the chair. After a bit of happy gas and anaesthetic, the extraction commenced and it was over before I knew it. With a couple days of rest, salt water gargles and ice blocks, I recovered in three days. I extremely suggest wisdom teeth removal for anyone struggling with the pain associated with wisdom teeth. An extraction is a couple of minutes of your day that can prevent pain and infections for the rest of your adulthood.