Wisdom Tooth Removal
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth that come through as we grow up, usually between the ages of 16 and 24. Whilst these are useful teeth for grinding and chewing food; if they do not erupt correctly, and remain impacted in the jaw, it is often beneficial or even necessary to remove them.
When do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
There are a number of indicators which suggest that removal of a wisdom teeth may be advisable. These include
- When the wisdom teeth erupt at an angle which is not useful for chewing food. Teeth misaligned in this way may also suffer uneven wear which may, in turn, weaken them.
- Where the wisdom tooth has only partially erupted. This makes them significantly harder to clean, leaving them more susceptible to decay and gum disease.
- Where it is deemed that they may cause damage to other teeth.
- To reduce the risks associated with cyst formation. This is more likely to happen around an impacted tooth.
- Where a partially erupted tooth causes gum pain or soreness.
Generally, wisdom teeth are best extracted as early in their formation as possible. As the roots may not be fully formed at this stage, it makes the procedure easier to perform, making it less uncomfortable for the patient.
Benefits of wisdom tooth removal
As well as relieving signs and symptoms of problems, such as those above, there are other benefits associated with wisdom tooth removal and these include:
- Helps to prevent overcrowding in the mouth which can lead to crooked teeth
- Reduces the risk of recurring infections
- Reduce the risk of gum disease
- Makes the remaining teeth easier to keep clean
- Minimises the risk of impacting on the health of adjacent teeth
Recovering from a wisdom tooth extraction
Immediately following your wisdom tooth removal, you will be given some sterile gauze to bite down on. This helps to form a blood clot which starts the healing process. You should take care not to spit or swill liquid around the mouth as dislodging the blood clot may lead to a dry socket which can be very uncomfortable and may cause complications. You will, of course, be given full aftercare instructions following the procedure at our St John’s Wood practice.
There may be some discomfort for a few days following the procedure. This can usually be managed with commonly available painkillers. It is possible that there may also be some swelling and this can be reduced by using a cold compress for a few minutes every half an hour or so.
You should avoid eating very hot or very cold foods for the first 24 hours and softer foods such as mashed potatoes should be eaten, avoiding contact with the area of the procedure. You should continue to brush your other teeth, again avoiding the blood clot.
Smoking and alcohol consumption should be avoided for the first few days following the procedure as these could both irritate the wound as well as increase the likelihood of infection.
We generally recommend that a follow up visit to Roland and Tollett dental practices takes place a week or so after the procedure so that we can check on its progress. In the event of any severe pain or other problems though, please do not wait for your appointment, and call our St John’s Wood dental practice on 0207 722 8995.