Oral surgery encompasses a range of surgical procedures such as the removal of diseased teeth or tissue from the mouth, gum surgery, and insertion of dental implants.
The most common form of oral surgery is tooth extraction and there are a number of reasons for the need to extract teeth:
- Poorly aligned teeth that are affecting the health and alignment of neighbouring teeth
- Teeth that are beyond repair; either from decay, root fracture or trauma
- Orthodontic treatment, requiring the removal of some teeth to reduce crowding
What is involved in an extraction?
A local anaesthetic is applied to numb the site of the tooth. During the extraction procedure you may feel some pressure and movement before the tooth is pulled. However, you shouldn’t feel any pain. In some cases, if the tooth is severely impacted, an incision is made into the gum and the tooth may be removed in sections.
After extracting the tooth, you may need sutures. Here at Jin Chan Dental we have the option of dissolvable or non-dissolvable sutures. The dissolvable sutures do not need removing. This will normally take place within a week, however after 3-4 days we recommend you help the process by brushing the sutures away to minimise food traps.
The recovery period can vary from patient to patient. During the first two to three days, you will experience some swelling and discomfort, and should recover fully within 1 to 2 weeks.
Adequate pain medication will be prescribed, depending on the level of discomfort. To help with the swelling, place an ice pack on the side of your face where the tooth was removed, as the cold helps reduce swelling and eases discomfort.
There are plenty of things you can do to make your recovery time easier, and it is important to take it easy for a few days.
Avoid eating on the side where the tooth was removed. After each meal, rinse gently with salt water to help keep the area clean and prevent infection. Avoid rinsing regularly as this will dislodge the blood clot from the extraction site. It is important to note, once the tooth is removed, the roots leave a ‘socket’ in the jaw bone, creating a hole in the gum which will close over in 1-2 weeks. It is also advisable not to keep disturbing the socket with your tongue or finger whilst it is healing over. For smokers, it is important to avoid smoking after tooth extraction as this can cause an infection known as a dry socket.
A soft-food diet for the first day or two is also required, slowly transitioning to semi soft and normal foods over time.
Whilst complications such as an infection are rare, it is vital to keep an eye on progress and contact your dentist with any concerns.
Third molars (wisdom teeth) are the last teeth to develop, appearing during our late teens, or early twenties. Sometimes there isn’t enough room in the mouth for the wisdom teeth and they can erupt on an angle, or only partially erupt; which is known as impacted.
Impacted wisdom teeth are likely to cause dental health problems. Food and bacteria can get trapped around the area of the tooth causing a build of plaque leading to:
- Tooth Decay – leading to cavities, which can also affect surrounding teeth and bone.
- Gum Disease – gingivitis or periodontal disease
- Cellulitis – a bacterial infection in the cheek, tongue or throat.
- Abscess – pus builds up in the surrounding tissue of the tooth, caused by bacterial infection.
- Cysts or Benign Growths – in rare cases, a wisdom tooth that hasn’t cut through the gum can develop a cyst (fluid-filled inflammation)
If you are experiencing severe pain or discomfort from your wisdom teeth, we recommend you make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible. We will carry out a thorough examination of your teeth, including a mouth x-ray to get a clear picture of the position of your teeth. At this point, we will confirm whether removal is required.