Wisdom Teeth Removal – Know before you go

dentist and patient

Although dental anxiety is a common condition, there are specific procedures that seem to cause more fear than others. Tooth extraction is almost certainly one of them, and in particular, the removal of wisdom teeth.

One of the best ways to counteract dental anxiety is to prepare yourself for your treatment in advance, and it is for this reason that we firmly encourage patients to ‘know before you go’. Advances in the techniques and technology used in modern dentistry mean that procedures that are commonly thought of as extremely painful or distressing, are now usually much faster, simpler and tolerable.

By taking the time to understand what your treatment involves and what you can expect to happen, you can alleviate many of your fears and feel more confident when you attend your appointment.

What are the wisdom teeth?

The wisdom teeth are the large teeth that grow on either side at the very back of your gums. Most people have four – one in each corner – and they are usually the last teeth to erupt, often appearing during your late teens and early twenties. However, because they are the last teeth to appear, there often isn’t enough room for them to come through properly. They may erupt an angle, become stuck half way through or remain fully in the gum due to the lack of space. When this happens, you will hear your wisdom teeth referred to as ‘impacted’.

What happens when wisdom teeth become impacted?

When wisdom teeth are unable to come through properly due to lack of space, the most common cause of action is to remove/extract them. Wisdom teeth removal is one of the most common surgical dental procedures in the U.S.

How will I know my wisdom teeth need to be removed?

If there is a problem with your wisdom teeth coming through, you will most likely experience some form of toothache. This could range from an acute pain to a dull but persistent ache. You may also notice that the gum at the back of your mouth feels tender and swollen.

If you have these symptoms, you should arrange an appointment with us as soon as possible so that we can assess your teeth. This may involve taking an x-ray of your jaw so that we can identify the position of your impacted teeth, and determine whether extraction is the best course of action.

What will happen during my wisdom teeth removal?

Wisdom tooth removal is always carried out under a minimum of a local anesthetic, which will numb the area around the teeth. We do offer sedation dentistry here at Eagle Gate Dental. Therefore, if you are particularly anxious about your surgery and would like to find out whether sedation is a possibility for your wisdom teeth removal, please discuss this with our team at your consultation appointment.

Wherever possible, your wisdom teeth will be removed whole. To do this it will be necessary for your surgeon to widen the socket that your tooth sits in, which he will do by wiggling and manoeuvring it. If this doesn’t work, it may be necessary for us to make a small incision into the gum in order to free the tooth, or for us to break the tooth into smaller pieces and to remove them one at a time. Rest assured, your dentist will always opt for the most straightforward choice possible.

How long will my wisdom teeth removal take?

The time that it takes to remove your wisdom teeth will largely depend on how many you are having removed and how easily we are able to extract them. It could take anywhere between two and twenty minutes to safely remove each tooth.

Wisdom tooth extraction aftercare

Once your anesthetic has worn off, you are highly likely to experience some swelling, puffiness and discomfort, both inside and outside your mouth. This tenderness usually lasts for several days before it starts to improve, but over-the-counter pain relief should be sufficient to keep you comfortable.

You will probably choose to avoid particularly hot/cold drinks for at least the first three or four days after your surgery, and we strongly recommend that you opt for a soft-based diet. This will minimize trauma to the area and allow you to recover.

We will give you specific aftercare instructions to follow, and these will help you to make the fastest and best recovery from your wisdom tooth removal.

If you are concerned that you may have problems with your wisdom teeth, or would simply like to ask any more questions about the procedure, Dr. Wright and the team here at Eagle Gate Dental will be happy to reassure you. We welcome any opportunity to improve the health and happiness of our patients and are always happy to discuss your dental concerns. Give us a call or pop in to our Salt Lake City offices to make an appointment.