The prospect of having a wisdom tooth extracted is a thought too terrifying for many people to even contemplate. However, in cases of severe pain, tooth decay or gum disease, this prospect may sadly be necessary.
Before consulting a Southgate emergency dentist though, it is useful to know a few things about how and why wisdom teeth are removed and the potential effects of removing them.
Why are wisdom teeth extracted?
Most people’s wisdom teeth will only emerge by the time they are in their late teenage years at the earliest. By this point, all their other teeth will have (usually) already fully grown and because of this, the wisdom teeth may not have enough room to grow fully and comfortably. When this happens, these wisdom teeth are known as “impacted.”
Impacted wisdom teeth are not always extracted – in fact, if they are not causing any problems, then there is usually no reason to remove them. However, impacted teeth can cause tooth decay and gum disease (as mentioned earlier) and in such cases, extraction is often necessary.
How does extraction happen?
Before having a wisdom tooth extracted, you’ll be given a local anaesthetic injection which will help to ensure the procedure induces little to no pain.
The tooth socket will then be widened, sometimes aided by a small cut in the gums, thus allowing the tooth to be removed.
This whole process will usually take around 20 minutes, however, it can take longer in cases where the tooth needs to be cut up to make it easier to remove.
Effects – immediately after the extraction
After the procedure, a blood clot should eventually form in the now-empty tooth socket, as a part of the healing process. To help speed this along, the dentist may give you gauze to bite down on and keep the pressure on for up to an hour.
The healing process can also be helped by avoiding alcohol and smoking, as well as hot liquids such as teas or soups for at least the next 24 hours, as well as by avoiding any tiring physical activity.
Though unlikely, a wisdom tooth extraction can cause complications. Infection and slow healing of the tooth socket are both possibilities, especially for those who smoke during their recovery process.
A tooth extraction also carries a slight risk of injuring a nerve around the tooth (known as the trigeminal nerve) which can cause painful sensations when trying to eat or drink. Luckily, however, a nerve injury is most often temporary, lasting at most a few months.
Costs of extraction
If you are under 18 (or are otherwise exempt from NHS charges) then you’re in luck, as your tooth extraction will most likely be free.
If not, then be sure to discuss the cost of an extraction with your dentist before undergoing treatment to see how much it would cost for you should your dentist believe that a wisdom tooth extraction is needed for you to maintain good oral health.
Furthermore, be sure to check whether or not you are paying for NHS or private dental care with your dentist before having a wisdom tooth extracted, as these may both have different associated costs.
Does that answer all your questions about wisdom tooth extraction?