How do dentists remove wisdom teeth?

Although you probably don’t remember teething as a baby, the arrival of your wisdom teeth can easily compare to what toddlers experience: pain, aching and tender gums. This mean reminder of how traumatic teething was as a child also brings with it a a pile of other dental problems including pain, infections or misalignment of other teeth. Hardly seems very ‘wise’ of the body really.

If these nasty buggers have popped up in your mouth, then you probably want to know what you’re in for before you get in the dentist’s chair- here’s everything you need to know about removing your wisdom teeth.

What are wisdom teeth?

Once upon a time, wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, were considered useful parts of the human anatomy. Our ancestors lived on a diet of roots, nuts, berries and raw meat and because of this we needed a broader jaw and strong back molars for grinding. Well, as time has past (thanks evolution) our jaws have shrunk and there is no longer space for these extra teeth. Unfortunately, we haven’t quite evolved past the actual growing of the teeth so they still erupt- even though there is not enough space. This generally occurs between the ages of 16 and 25, and can either go unnoticed or lead to excruciating pain.

Why are wisdom teeth a problem?

The main problem with wisdom teeth is that they grow out of the jaw bone and into the mouth. Because wisdom teeth are prone to growing in at an incorrect angle – even sideways – they can affect your front teeth as well. Problems don’t stop there either, they can also trap bacteria and food, causing plaque build up, decay and infections.

At Adelaide Dental, we usually recommend removal of the wisdom teeth if they cause pain or infections. The process is not scary and relatively painless – and is completed under sedation.

How do dentists remove wisdom teeth?

Before starting the procedure, our friendly team will explain what will happen before, during and after the removal, and prepare you for any pain you might have. Consider this an opportunity to ask us questions, as we want you to feel comfortable with the procedure.

The first step in removing wisdom teeth is to take an xray of your mouth. It’s important for us to understand exactly how the tooth is growing so we can remove it as easily as possible.

The next step is to actually remove the tooth. If your wisdom tooth has erupted and is easily accessible then it will be removed with dental forceps.

First we numb the area around your tooth with a local anaesthetic- yes this is a needle. You can also have laughing gas as a supplement or be completely asleep with sedation. The sedative will help your body relax and will allow you to sleep through this otherwise intimidating procedure.

Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, by gently rocking the tooth back and forth it will eventually loosen and be removed. If your teeth are easy to remove and aren’t holding onto your gums for dear life, then you’re almost done! If they are stubborn then they will require a bit more yanking about- rest assured we will always be as gentle as possible.

Stitches may or may not be required, and most of them simply dissolve over a couple of weeks.

If your wisdom tooth is growing at an angle that is inaccessible then a surgical removal may be required. This will be identified during your first consultation.

After your wisdom tooth is removed

What happens after the removal of your wisdom teeth will depend on the type of anaesthesia you have, and the type of removal, however, we also recommend asking a friend or relative to take you home and be around for the first 24 hours.

We will send you home with some simple after-care steps including how to brush your teeth, mouthwash procedures and what to eat. As a rule of thumb you should opt for non-sugary soft foods such as soups to avoid putting too much pressure on your teeth.

Removing a wisdom tooth does not need to be a scary process and as we always say- preventative care is the best type of care. Pop in and see us and we can go over all your options.