Pain After Wisdom Tooth Extraction
While you may not need your wisdom teeth, they can still cause problems for your overall oral health. Wisdom tooth extraction is a common procedure that can remove infected or impacted wisdom teeth and give you a healthier smile.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Your wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that come in sometime between the ages of 17 and 21. In some cases, the wisdom teeth may not erupt at all or grow abnormally and affect the other teeth in your mouth. This is known as an impacted wisdom tooth.
Do I Need a Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
Not everyone will need to have their wisdom teeth removed. If you go for regular checkups, your dentist can monitor the development of these molars and whether they are growing normally.
However, for people with wisdom teeth that are growing abnormally, they are at an increased risk of tooth decay, gum disease, alignment issues, and infection. There are many symptoms for abnormal wisdom tooth growth including pain, bad breath, trouble opening the jaw, sore or bleeding gums, and an unpleasant taste in your mouth. If you suffer any of these symptoms, you may need to have a wisdom tooth extraction.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction Procedure
A wisdom tooth extraction is performed under local anaesthesia, IV sedation or general anaesthesia depending on the complexity of your case. Before undergoing surgery, your dentist will take X-rays of your mouth to determine the exact position of the wisdom teeth and how they are affecting the teeth around them. The OPG xray will also help your dentist plan the wisdom tooth removal procedure.
If your wisdom tooth has erupted, your dentist may be able to remove the tooth without removing the gum or bone around the tooth. This is known as a “simple” extraction and the Australian Dental Association item numbers for this type of procedure include 311 or 314.
If the tooth is impacted by the adjacent tooth or gum or jaw bone, the gum tissue around the tooth needs to be reflected away to expose the tooth for removal. If your wisdom tooth is covered by jaw bone, your dentist will need to create a small window through the bone to expose the tooth for removal. The dentist will then carefully loosen the tissues connecting the tooth to the jaw bone before removing the tooth.
Your tooth may need to be cut into smaller pieces to facilitate removal. These procedures are considered major dental and the item numbers can be 322, 323 or 324 depending on the surgical technique employed to remove the tooth.
Finally, the gum will be closed with dissolvable sutures, and the wound site padded with gauze to ensure bleeding stops. Your dentist will give you the post-operative instructions about your recovery period. You will also be provided with an after hours contact number in case you have any concerns. Your dentist will call you the following day to reinforce the instructions and answer any further questions. A complimentary review is offered at 1-2 weeks after the procedure or at anytime if you have any concerns.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction Complications
Wisdom tooth extraction is a common procedure, but every case is different, and occasionally complications can arise. If you experience any of the following symptoms or have any queries or concerns, contact our practice:
- Bad breath
- Worsening pain after wisdom tooth extraction
- Worsening swelling
- Excessive bleeding
How Long Does Pain After Wisdom Tooth Extraction Last?
As every case is different, it can be challenging to give an exact time when the discomfort will subside. However, for most wisdom teeth removal procedures, your jaw may feel tender and sore for 4-5 days after the surgery. You can minimise the swelling and tenderness by following the instructions provided to you at the time of the consultation and procedure.
Recovery and Care
The typical wisdom tooth extraction recovery period is about 7-14 days. During the initial recovery period you will need to care for your wound to allow proper healing. Some important post-surgical care tips include:
- Eating a normal diet if tolerated
- Avoid drinking from a straw, avoid smoking and avoid spitting. The sucking action creates negative pressure in your mouth which can dislodge the blood clot in the wound site exposing the jaw bone to food, bacteria, and debris which can cause cause worsening pain after wisdom tooth extraction.
- Rinse with saltwater from the day after the procedure. Mix ½ tsp of salt in water and swish it around your mouth 3-4 times per day, especially after eating.
- Rest with your head elevated and avoid any heavy lifting or strenuous activity.
- Take your prescribed medications regularly as advised by your dentist
Dr. Willis or Dr. Chou will call you the day after your surgery to see if you have any concerns. You will also be provided with an after hours emergency number.
Wisdom tooth extraction is a common procedure to help you manage or prevent future oral health complications due to impacted wisdom teeth. If you are concerned about your wisdom teeth or are experiencing an infection or swelling or any discomfort after an extraction, please contact Dr. Willis At Toothsome in Sydney to make an appointment for a complimentary assessment. Your oral health and overall well-being are important to us!