Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Adults can have up to 32 teeth. The wisdom teeth are the last to come through, at the back, usually between the ages of 17 and 25 years, although sometimes they can appear years later. Nowadays, the maximum number of teeth that the adult jaw can accommodate is 28.
If all the other teeth are present and healthy, there may not be enough space for the wisdom teeth to come through properly. This is called an ‘impacted’ wisdom tooth and as it grows, It may get stuck against the tooth in front. The wisdom tooth will be at an angle, and will need to be extracted.
Other reasons for requiring wisdom tooth extraction are:
- If they have only partly come through and are decayed – such teeth are often more likely to decay as it is difficult to clean them as thoroughly as your other teeth.
- If the wisdom tooth starts to ‘over-grow’. This often happens if the lower one has already been removed or is impacted and cannot come through, and the upper one has no tooth to bite against. The upper one will come down too far, looking for a tooth to make contact with
- If they are causing discomfort or pain
You can read more about wisdom tooth extraction here.
What to Expect Afterwards
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of our clients most frequently asked questions in relation to tooth removal.
Take it easy for the rest of the day. Take as little exercise as possible and rest as much as you can. Keep the head up to avoid any bleeding. You’re advised to be particularly cautious about eating and drinking until the anaesthetic wears off. This is because until then, you will not feel pain fully. Common problems immediately after an extraction include accidentally chewing the cheek and scalding the mouth with hot food or drinks. When resting, try to keep the head higher for the first night, using an extra pillow. It’s also advisable to use an old pillowcase, or to place a towel on the pillow, in case there is bleeding.
There is usually some tenderness in the area of the extraction for the first few days. Do not take aspirin, as this will make your mouth bleed. In most cases, simple pain relief—what you would normally take to alleviate a headache—should be sufficient to ease the discomfort. However, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are in doubt, check with your GP.
If your gums are sore and swollen, use a mouthwash of medium hot water with a teaspoonful of salt. (Check that it is not too hot before using it.) Swish the salt water around the tooth, trying to get into the areas your toothbrush cannot reach. An antibacterial mouthwash such as Corsodyl can also reduce inflammation. Pain-relieving tablets such as paracetamol or aspirin can also be useful in the short term, but see your dentist if the pain continues.
The dentist will usually take x-rays to see the position of the root, and to see whether there is room for the tooth to come through into a useful position.
It depends on the position and shape of the roots, which will be determined by an x-ray. Upper wisdom teeth are often easier to remove than lower ones, which are more likely to be impacted. Your dentist will decide on whether the tooth should be removed at the dental practice, or whether you should be referred to an oral surgeon at a hospital.
Very occasionally there is a possibility of some numbness of the lip after the removal of a lower tooth—your dentist will tell you if it is possible in your case. You will probably require a local anaesthetic—as you would require for a filling—or sedation. You could also have a general anaesthetic (where you would be asleep), but this will usually be given only in a hospital.
Extracting a tooth leaves a small hole where that tooth used to be. This is known as a socket and it can become quite sensitive after an extraction. Nerves can become exposed if the blood clot gets knocked loose after the removal of a tooth.
A tooth extraction can also lead to bone loss and cosmetic issues due to moving teeth. Socket preservation helps to protect the alveolar ridge, which is the bone that surrounds your teeth’s roots.
The procedure involves the placement of PRGF – protein rich growth factors (centrifuged from your own blood) within the socket at the time of extraction, with or without bone grafting material (or scaffold). This creates a rich environment for improved bone regeneration which helps to preserve the hard and soft tissues.