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Tooth Extractions and Wisdom Teeth Removal

Precision meets care for a healthier smile.

Precision meets care with tooth extractions
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Tooth extractions
What are wisdom teeth?
What are impacted wisdom teeth?
When do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
What does a wisdom teeth removal involve?

Are you living with a tooth which has been broken or damaged by decay? If so, the Apple Dental team of Lane Cove dentists can call on a variety of treatment options to restore your tooth, such as with a restorative filling or dental crown. But in some cases, for example if your tooth has suffered too much damage to be repaired and saved, extraction of your tooth may be the best option. If this is the case for you, we may recommend one of two types of extraction.

Tooth extractions

  • A simple tooth extraction can be carried out on a tooth that we can clearly see in your mouth, which doesn’t show any clinical abnormalities. This method is usually a quick and comfortable way to extract a problem tooth, needing only local anaesthetic to numb the tooth and surrounding area of your mouth.
  • Surgical extraction of teeth may be necessary for teeth that aren’t as easily visible in your mouth, for example if they are unerupted or broken off at the gum line. In this case, you may also need bone grafting after your surgical extraction, to replace the bone lost during the procedure.

Even though your bone will usually naturally regenerate over time, your situation may call for such a bone graft after your tooth extraction, to keep any bone shrinkage to a minimum. This is particularly crucial if we plan on replacing your extracted tooth with dental implants, which need solid bone structure to fully integrate with your jaw.

Both these methods of tooth extraction can be carried out in the Apple Dental chair, using appropriate anaesthetic to ensure your complete comfort. If your situation is more complex, we may refer you to an oral surgeon for your tooth extraction and bone graft.

What are wisdom teeth?

Your wisdom teeth, commonly known as third molars, are a set of (usually) four teeth that erupt into the back corners of your mouth, usually at around the ages of 17 to 21. Not everyone has wisdom teeth, and some people are naturally missing one or more of their wisdom teeth.

What are impacted wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth, for some people they erupt without any problems, but for others, they can create a range of oral and general health concerns.

A common wisdom teeth problem is when they become impacted, having developed at an angle and becoming trapped either against other teeth or below your gum line. Not all impacted wisdom teeth will cause pain and alert you to a developing problem, which is why you should attend regular oral health checks to allow us to detect when something has gone wrong.

Because impacted wisdom teeth are difficult to properly clean with your regular brushing, bits of food and bacteria can easily become trapped here, causing a condition called pericoronitis. Though this problem can be eased with regular use of mouthwashes and sometimes antibiotics, if they regularly cause you problems, having your wisdom teeth extracted may be the best treatment for you.

It is estimated that over 80% of wisdom teeth will need to be removed. And because it is not possible to predict if or when your wisdom teeth may cause you a problem, we recommend removing wisdom teeth earlier rather than later.

When do wisdom teeth need to be removed?

Wisdom teeth are the very last teeth to emerge, usually during the late teens or early twenties. In some people, their eruption won’t cause any problems, but others aren’t quite so lucky, and there may be insufficient room for these teeth to erupt properly.

Often, when wisdom teeth try to come through, they become impacted where they are growing at the incorrect angle and are trapped underneath or against other teeth. Occasionally a wisdom tooth will not fully erupt, remaining partially covered with gum tissue. Partially erupted wisdom teeth are difficult to keep clean and can easily trap food and bacteria causing an infection called pericoronitis. When wisdom teeth cannot erupt properly, it increases the risk of a cyst developing around the tooth and which can destroy jawbone, tooth roots and other structures.

Sometimes a problematic wisdom tooth will cause pain, but other times there may be few, if any symptoms. Here at Apple Dental, we regularly monitor wisdom teeth yet to come through and if needed, will recommend their removal. Often, wisdom teeth are removed under local anaesthetic, but if their removal is likely to be more complicated, we can refer you to an oral surgeon.

What does a wisdom teeth removal involve?

We can remove many wisdom teeth under local anaesthetic at our Apple Dental Lane Cove dental practice. For unusual cases, we may refer you to an oral surgeon who can extract your wisdom teeth in hospital under general anaesthetic. We are only too happy to discuss all the available options with you.

Before your wisdom teeth treatment begins, it is crucial that you let us know whether you’re taking any prescription or over-the-counter medication. You must also be sure to alert us if you have any other general health problems, or if you’re allergic to any medications.

Your recovery will generally take a few days. You may experience some slight post-operative swelling. Over the counter pain relief medication is often all that is required to relieve any discomfort. We recommend you follow a soft food diet for a few days.

Frequently Asked Questions

To alleviate your gum soreness and inflammation, try rinsing your mouth out with salt water (made using warm water and a teaspoon of salt) twice a day. This mouthwash can sometimes help by soothing the areas your toothbrush cannot reach.

Impacted wisdom teeth can easily cause infections of the gum around the teeth, decay and resorption of adjacent functioning teeth, and gum disease around the molar teeth. Rare complications such as cysts and tumours can also develop around impacted teeth.

Infections are by far the most common problem, and in a small number of cases, can cause severe or life threatening complications. Although infection can respond to antibiotics, the only real way to treat it is to remove the source of the problem – your wisdom teeth.

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause damage without any warning. It’s also important to consider that as you get older, you will recover from surgery more slowly, which means your wisdom teeth will generally be more difficult to remove the older you are.

No – if you have sufficient room in your jaw, your wisdom teeth can erupt in the correct position and function correctly, or they may remain unerupted and cause no problems. But for most people, this is usually not the case.

No – avoid rinsing the area for the first 24 hours after your surgery to allow the socket to heal. You should also avoid eating on that side or disturbing the blood clot with your tongue, which can allow infection into the socket, and affect healing.

You should avoid drinking alcohol for at least 24 hours, as this can encourage bleeding and delay healing. Eat and drink lukewarm food as normal, and avoid chewing on the affected area of your mouth.

Some slight bleeding is normal for the first day or so. But because a small amount of blood can look quite dramatic when mixed with a larger amount of saliva, it’s easy to become concerned by the amount of bleeding.

If you do notice bleeding, do not rinse your mouth. Apply pressure to the socket by biting firmly on a clean piece of folded cotton, such as a handkerchief, for at least 15 minutes. Replace the pad if necessary. If the bleeding has not stopped after an hour or two, contact the Apple Dental team for advice.

Rest as much as you can for the rest of the day, keeping your head up to avoid any bleeding. Avoid rinsing for the first 24 hours to help your mouth start the healing process. After this time, use a salt-water mouthwash for at least a week to help heal the socket.

We recommend you avoid eating hot food or drinking hot tea or coffee until your anaesthetic has completely worn off. This is to help you avoid burning your mouth, as you won’t be able to feel pain while the anaesthetic effects linger. You should also take care not to chew your cheek when eating, and do not consume alcohol for at least 24 hours, which can promote bleeding.

For the first night after your surgery, minimise bleeding by keeping your head raised with an extra pillow. It can also be a good idea to cover your pillow with a towel or older pillowcase, to protect it in the event of minor bleeding.

Keep your mouth and the extraction site as clean as possible, making sure that the socket is kept clear of all food and debris. Maintain a healthy diet, and take a Vitamin C supplement to aid your body with healing.