Wisdom Teeth Removal: Everything You Need to Know

wisdom teeth removal

For many, the news to have wisdom teeth removed may be an anxious time. But it is one of the most common dental surgeries. If you’re prepared by knowing what to expect, including the costs, the pain and recovery time, and what to eat beforehand, the entire process is actually not all that bad.

Dr. Dhesi, a board certified oral surgeon in Calgary, Alberta, sheds some light on this topic. Here are some of his thoughts.

First, do wisdom teeth need to be removed?

There are several reasons a patient may need to have their wisdom teeth removed. The only way to determine this would be to book a consultation. During the consultation Dr. Dhesi will review your radiographs and perform an exam. Based on his findings he will provide a recommendation on whether they need to be removed.

4 reasons you may need your wisdom teeth gone:

Impacted:

One of the most common and painful reasons are impacted teeth -when large molars are simply too big, stuck in the back of the mouth impacting the jawbone and unable to come out on their own.

Wrong angle:

They grow at an odd, unnatural angle causing pain and pushing against other teeth. There can even be cavitation or decay of the teeth in front of the wisdom teeth based on the angulation. The best way to prevent decay from occurring is to consider extraction of the wisdom tooth before it becomes an issue.

wisdom tooth with mesial impaction

Small mouth, big teeth:

Self-explanatory here: if the mouth simply can’t house an extra set of molars, they need to go.

Back in the day - we’re talking over 100 million years ago and the prehistoric version of man - our jaws could comfortably accommodate all 32 teeth, including the third molars. Well, those days are gone. Here’s an interesting piece on the evolution of wisdom teeth at HowStuffWorks.

Gum disease and cavities

Unfortunately, because a toothbrush or dental floss cannot reach that far back in the mouth, gum disease and/or cavities may appear, forcing the need to extract the damaged teeth.

Pre-surgery and what to expect

Two common questions by patients before surgery are how much will this cost and will there be any pain during the procedure? We address these concerns below.

How much will wisdom teeth removal cost?

The expense to extract third molars varies from province to province across Canada, each governed by their own guidelines.

In Alberta, dental procedure costs have come down 8.5% between 2016 to 2018 in an effort to bring fees more in line with other provinces moving ahead.

Dr. Dhesi follows the new Alberta Dental Specialist Fee Guide which came into effect January 2019. Many of his fees are actually below the recommended fees in the guide. Visit the Dental Fees in Alberta page to learn more or call Dr. Dhesi’s office with any questions or concerns.

Pain: will the surgery and extraction hurt?

Generally speaking, there is little to no pain for most patients and they go home the same day after surgery;

An injection of local anaesthetic (with the sole purpose to cause an absence of pain sensation) is used before surgery to numb the tooth and the surrounding area.

Based on the level of difficulty and the anxiousness of the patient, anesthesia may be utilized for the procedure. Dr.Dhesi operates out of a Non-Hospital surgical facility (NHSF). The anesthesia is delivered by a board certified anesthesiologist and they have a team of nurses that care for the patient during and after the surgery.

Wisdom Teeth Surgery: what to expect

wisdom tooth surgery

During the surgery, if the tooth has not broken through the gumeline already Dr Dhesi will make an incision to expose the tooth and bone. He will then remove bone blocking access to the tooth root and remove the wisdom tooth by dividing it into sections first if necessary.

After removal, the surrounding area is cleaned and stitches may be used to wound the closed area, placing a gauze over the extraction site to control bleeding and to help a blood clot form.

How long is the surgery?

Most wisdom teeth surgeries take between 20-30 minutes. Some may take longer if the teeth are in unusual positions but this is rare. If the patient opts for anesthesia, they will recover in the post operative recovery area until they meet the criteria to be sent home with their escort.

Recovering from wisdom teeth removal

Mild bruising, swelling, and post-surgery discomfort are common following procedure and need time to heal, but patients who properly look after their wounds can help speed up the healing process.

If all goes well, you probably will not need a follow-up session following removal if there were no complications during surgery, and if you’re not experiencing major issues (pain, swelling, bleeding, numbness). The stiches Dr.Dhesi uses dissolve on their own.

Healing time: how long will it take?

Most patients will have mild discomfort anywhere from 48-72 hours following the surgery. Inflammation will typically reach its high point 2-3 days after surgery. The soft tissue in the area of the surgery will take up to 2 weeks to heal.

What to eat after getting wisdom teeth removed

Patients can start eating immediately after the surgery and during the recovery time, but encouraged to stick with soft foods and liquids to avoid any chewing, preventing pain and possible infection.

what to eat after wisdom teeth removal

Fortunately, there are some good, healthy options for softer foods; cooler foods like ice cream can help relieve discomfort and pain. Suggestions include:

  • Smoothies
  • Avocado
  • Blended soups and broths
  • Mashed foods (potatoes, bananas, pumpkin)
  • Greek yogurt
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Salmon
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Applesauce
  • Hummus
  • Ice cream, Jell-O, pudding

Foods to avoid

Until the extraction site has healed, it’s best to stay clear of certain foods including grains which can get stuck in the recovery area, acidic and spicy foods which can irritate the extraction site, and hard to chew items that can reopen stitches (jerky, nuts, etc.). Best to avoid alcoholic beverages as well which can potentially interact negatively with the pain medication.

Final thoughts about wisdom teeth removal…

Again, this is one of the most common dental procedures and most people recover quickly.  Being well informed and educated about the procedure before, during, and after the surgery will make the process easier.

Dr. Dhesi aims to ensure your wisdom teeth extraction is a pleasant experience. We encourage you to call our office in Calgary, AB to schedule a consultation. Dr. Dhesi will meet with you to discuss your case and customize a treatment plan that is right for you.