When wisdom teeth get stuck, or a tooth has broken at the gum line through decay or damage, a surgical extraction is likely to be the recommended course of action
You won’t need your wisdom teeth out unless they are causing problems that leave you vulnerable to tooth decay. But because wisdom teeth come through at such a late stage in life, when all other adult teeth have long since formed, impaction is a common problem. This is when the wisdom teeth press against existing teeth, grow in at an angle and get stuck. In cases where this causes pain, swelling and infection, it is likely you’ll need to have your wisdom teeth removed.
Extractions – what to expect
Having a tooth out is the same as having an operation and, because of this, you must look after the area to speed healing and to reduce the risk of infection. Here are some pointers:
- For the first 24 hours, try to avoid eating hot food, don’t smoke, don’t drink any alcohol and try not to disturb any blood clot which might have formed
- Don’t rinse your mouth for 24 hours after extraction. After that, rinse gently with warm salty water – half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water is enough
- Brush your teeth as normal to keep your mouth as clean as possible.
- You may feel some small pieces of bone work their way out of the socket – don’t worry, this is perfectly normal.
- There may be some swelling and a bit of discomfort in the first two to three days. If you need to, take some ordinary painkillers – aspirin, ibuprofen or paracetamol will be fine
- If you feel pain a few days after the tooth has been removed, it might be where the blood clot has broken down leaving an empty hole in the gum. This is called a ‘dry socket’ and will need to be looked at by your dentist
Frequently Asked Questions
If a wisdom tooth has erupted above the gum line, you’ll require a simple extraction – a straightforward procedure carried out under local anaesthetic, which usually takes a few minutes to complete. Wisdom teeth that are stuck, broken, or which haven’t emerged above the gum line will require a complex extraction by an oral surgeon. This procedure involves cutting into the gum to access the tooth.
You’ll need to take a day or two off work to get used to managing the inevitable swelling and low-level pain that occurs after surgery, as well as cleaning the tooth socket. We will provide you with a comprehensive after-care plan, and you can expect a full recovery within two weeks of surgery.
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