There’s a popular belief that all wisdom teeth cause pain and worse still, the process of removing them is even more painful. For this reason, most patients are at best apprehensive and at worst terrified, when told they need to undergo a wisdom tooth removal, But are they right to be concerned?
Our Chesterfield dentist, Dr. Akinwande, explains…
Why we need wisdom tooth removal
Although exact figures are hard to come by, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons estimate that somewhere between 60% and 85% of Americans have had a least one of their wisdom teeth (third molars) removed at some point in their lives. Moreover, it’s thought that 80% of all people who initially retained their wisdom teeth need to have them removed at a later date. So why is this?
While our ancient ancestors relied heavily on the third set of molars to chew and grind plant tissue, roots, and tough meat, our modern-day diet of softer cooked foods means that we no longer need them. In addition, the modern jaw has adapted and is now too small to accommodate all 32 teeth (including wisdom teeth). So, when they do eventually erupt, tooth crowding and impactions are commonplace. This is why many wisdom teeth have to be removed.
But does wisdom tooth removal hurt?
Wisdom tooth extraction in experienced hands is generally a quick and painless procedure. Before any procedure starts I always ensure that you have sufficient anesthetic so that you won’t feel any form of discomfort. Typically, the only thing you may feel is slight pressure as the tooth is gently rocked backward and forwards but you shouldn’t at any point feel pain.
That said, even in cases where the gum may need to be lifted, the wisdom tooth cut into sections before removing, and the gum stitched back into position, patients shouldn’t feel any discomfort.
Primarily, this is down to a combination of modern sedation methods, gentle dental techniques, and the skill of the dentist.
Having extracted hundreds of teeth, dental extractions including wisdom tooth removal are both speedy and comfortable when you visit me at Chesterfield Dentistry. In fact, most extractions take just a few minutes. However, it can take longer – typically somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes – for wisdom teeth that are more difficult to remove.
What happens after a wisdom tooth removal procedure?
After the extraction, you will leave us with a leaflet detailing exactly what you need to do post-surgery. It’s usual to experience mild discomfort at the extraction site which is why you’ll receive advice on pain relief and an emergency number in case you need it. Patients may also need one- or two-days rest to allow a blood clot to form at the site to prevent any infection. This will be discussed more at the time of extraction.
How speedy is the recovery?
Every patient is unique and will respond differently to recovery. Some people might experience soreness for the first few days, for example, while others experience slight bruising and swelling. Other patients may develop a combination of swelling and discomfort.
Normally, however, any wisdom tooth extraction pain and/or swelling is quickly brought under control using a combination of antibiotics and ice packs. Usually, after 3 days, you should start to feel better and be able to chew properly.
Typically after one week any signs of bruising, swelling, and/or discomfort have disappeared, and you can continue as normal.
So, wisdom tooth removal does it hurt?
During the procedure, you should feel no pain and barely any (if at all) discomfort. After the procedure, the extraction site may feel a little tender for several days but with a little rest and recuperation, you should be back to normal within 7 days.
If you are apprehensive about any dental treatments including wisdom teeth extraction, come and talk to Dr. Melba Akinwande at Chesterfield Dentistry. As a highly experienced dentist, she will take the time to answer all of your questions and concerns.
Call to schedule a consultation on (314) 786 3360 today and take the anxiety out of your next dental appointment.