Wisdom teeth removal

What are wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth (the third molars) sit at the back of the mouth on the upper and lower jaw and are usually the last teeth to erupt after the age of 16 years. When wisdom teeth lack enough space to grow they can begin to grow in the wrong direction, causing what's known as 'impacted' wisdom teeth.

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain, swelling or infection and commonly in these cases, the wisdom tooth will need to be removed. If wisdom teeth remain impacted, the patient is susceptible to future dental issues including cysts, tumours, infection and gum disease.

Symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth

  • Intense pain in the mouth and/or jaw
  • Stiffness in the jaw
  • Mouth infections
  • Facial swelling or gum line swelling in the back of the mouth
  • General unwell feeling

What is the procedure for removal

At PM Oral Surgery, wisdom tooth extraction is performed while the patient is under either local anaesthetic with or without intravenous sedation, or under general anaesthetic. In all three scenarios, the surgeon will attempt to widen the tooth socket and loosen enough to be removed completely.

When the wisdom tooth is deeply impacted it may be necessary for the surgeon to make an incision in the gums and additionally, remove some bone surrounding the crown of the tooth. Once removed, the area is sealed with dissolvable stitches.

What is dry socket

Dry socket is a condition that may result from wisdom tooth surgery, after a blood clot fails to develop, exposing the bone underneath the tooth socket. While uncommon, it is a painful condition that delays healing of the area.

Some factors make patients more susceptible to dry socket and including:

  • Older age (patient over 40 years of age)
  • Large tooth socket
  • Difficult or long extraction
  • Presence of periodontal disease or a periapical abscess
  • History of previous dry socket
  • Lower jaw wisdom teeth
  • Increased levels of oestrogen in women
  • Smoking

Dry socket can be avoided by following the aftercare instructions provided by the oral surgeon.

Wisdom Tooth Removal aftercare

With all surgical operations that require anaesthetic, patients may experience light-headedness immediately after surgery. It is recommended that patients be escorted by a nominated carer to and from the surgery, then rest until the effects wear off.

It is common to experience numbness in the mouth for several hours after surgery. In the 24 hours that follow, it is recommended that patients take the following care instructions:

  • Avoid touching the affected area with the tongue or hands.
  • Avoid chewing on the affected area.
  • Gently bite on gauze from time to time to stop spot bleeding and relieve pain.
  • Avoid ingesting hot food or hot drinks.
  • Softly rinse your mouth with salt water, avoiding any vigorous motions to ensure the blood clot in the tooth socket remains intact.
  • Continue with a good oral hygiene routine to reduce the risk of infection (brushing twice a day, flossing once a day). Do not brush the affected area.
  • Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol for up to 72 hours following surgery, as it may delay the healing process and cause complications.
  • Consume soft foods and liquids until the jaw and teeth become less tender and stiff. Foods such as soups, smoothies and pureed foods may be consumed.
  • Avoid drinking through straws to ensure the blood clot remains intact.

Your oral surgeon will recommend pain relief medication for up to a week after surgery.

In the following weeks post-surgery, bruising and swelling of the face can be typically experienced. Bleeding is common post-surgery, the oral surgeon will provide information on how to manage any bleeding that occurs.

Stitches usually dissolve within 10 days. It is important to understand that prescribed antibiotics may interfere with contraceptives or birth control medication.

See our post-operative care after minor surgery information.

Learn more about wisdom teeth removal procedure here.

Find out more by calling us on 9745 4066 or contacting us via email.

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Tel: 02 9745 4066

Fax: 02 9745 4099

Suite 5, 12 Railway Parade
Burwood, NSW 2134

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Tuesday:8.00am - 5.00pm

Wednesday:8.30am - 5.00pm

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