Wisdom Teeth Removal in St. Catharines

What is Wisdom Teeth Extraction?

You’ve probably heard of wisdom teeth before, and you may even have been told by your dentist that you should have them removed. We understand that you may be apprehensive but don’t worry, it’s a standard dental procedure that the majority of people undergo to save hassles down the road. Truth is, most people would benefit from having their wisdom teeth removed, especially if they’re still under 30 years old. Wisdom teeth aren’t harmful in themselves but can cause complications if they do not come in correctly. The main issues with wisdom teeth arise when they come in crooked, impacting into the surrounding teeth or when they don’t fully erupt at all. Impacting your other teeth will cause them to go out of alignment, can cause bite deformation, jaw pain, tooth or jaw pain and even infection. If the wisdom teeth do not fully erupt, then they often cause food particles to become trapped and a risk of infection to occur. In order to safeguard against any of these complications, wisdom teeth are typically removed as they are not needed and usually cause more problems than they are worth. As wisdom teeth removal experts in St. Catharines, our Martindale Dental clinic is a great place to get advice, tips and a consultation about your wisdom teeth.

An overview of the process

If you’ve been told by your dentist or oral surgeon that you should have your wisdom teeth removed, don’t worry, it’s usually a straight forward procedure that can be completed in your dentist’s or oral surgeon’s office.

Before removing your wisdom teeth, a local anaesthetic will be applied to numb the area. Often a general anaesthetic such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas) may be used to sedate patients during the procedure. Also known as sedation dentistry or sleep dentistry, these methods will allow a patient to sleep during the procedure and prevent feelings of pain and anxiety. Many patients choose to be sedated for a wisdom tooth removal, especially if multiple wisdom teeth are being removed at the same time.

In order to remove a wisdom tooth, your dentist or oral surgeon will open the surrounding gum tissue covering your wisdom teeth in order to gain clean access to the tooth for removal. Sometimes this includes removing small amounts of jaw bone or breaking the wisdom tooth roots into smaller pieces for easy removal – don’t worry – it’s not as bad as it sounds. Once the tooth has been removed, the site is stitched up and a cotton gauze pad is placed on the wound to stop bleeding.

Why should wisdom teeth be removed?

Wisdom teeth are often extracted to correct a problem, or to prevent one from happening in the future. Wisdom teeth are not necessary for the function of your teeth and are thus removeable.

Some reasons that wisdom teeth are typically removed include:
• There isn’t enough space inside a person’s mouth, meaning wisdom teeth could impact or break the surrounding teeth and cause alignment issues.
• Wisdom teeth often only partially erupt which leaves a skin flap and spaces for bacteria to become trapped and infection to happen.
• Wisdom teeth that become infected can damage other teeth, your jaw bone and/or cause painful cysts.
Having your wisdom teeth removed is effective in preventing:
• Crowding of teeth
• Impacted teeth
• Gum infections
• Gum disease, tooth decay, jaw bone degradation and general oral pain

After wisdom tooth removal surgery

Typically, the recovery period will only last a few days, where patients will be required to consume only liquids or soft foods to avoid disturbing the wound. Painkillers may be used to reduce pain or inflammation, and antibiotics may be prescribed if there is a risk of infection.

These tips can help your recovery process:
• Immediately after surgery, bite gently onto the provided gauze pads to reduce bleeding. Remember to change pads regularly.
• Remember, your mouth is numb from the anaesthetic, so take care not to bite your cheek, lip or tongue.
• When you arrive at home, rest is very important. Try not to lie flat, but keep your head elevated to further reduce the risk of prolonged bleeding.
• If you notice swelling or are feeling localized pain, take some painkillers like Advil or Tylenol and use a cold ice pack to control swelling. Heat can be useful as well but remember to alternate between hot and cold for the best relief.
• Abstain from physical activity for 2-3 days as you heal.
• Eat soft foods and drink lots of liquids. Soups, purees, shakes etc. are all good options to keep yourself nourished as you recover.
• Do not use a straw to consume food or drink as the suction created can re-open the healing wound and cause bleeding.
• After 24 hours have elapsed, it is recommended to gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water many times during the day. The recommended mixture is 1 Tsp of salt to 250ml warm water (about a medium glass). Remember to rinse gently so you don’t disturb the healing wound.
• Do not smoke for at least 24 hours post-surgery to avoid disturbing the wound and introducing harmful contaminants.
• Don’t fidget or play around the wound site with your tongue even if it’s tempting.
• Brush your teeth carefully but regularly to keep your mouth fresh and bacteria free.

Things to think about regarding wisdom teeth removal

• Often your dentist will recommend you have your wisdom teeth removed even if they aren’t currently causing any pain or issues.
• Some people wisdom teeth grow in correctly and don’t cause any issues.
• Wisdom teeth removal is a standard procedure and is rarely harmful, but as with all surgery there is a slight risk involved.
• It is better to remove wisdom teeth early (when a person is in their late teens or early twenties) because the roots have not developed fully, and the jawbone is less dense. This makes for an easier procedure and faster recovery.
• Issues with wisdom teeth usually develop between the ages of 15-25. People in their 30’s will rarely develop unforeseen issues with their wisdom teeth.
• Rare but possible complications from wisdom teeth removal include dry socket, infection, bleeding and numbness.

It is recommended to be proactive and speak with your dentist about the condition of your wisdom teeth and whether it is in your best interest to have them removed. Our St. Catharines office has a wealth of experience with wisdom teeth and can help steer you in the right direction.

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