Be wise about your wisdom teeth
Extractions, Wisdom Teeth and Sedation
Sometimes in spite of all our best efforts teeth just need to be extracted. This may be due to extensive gum disease, or extensive tooth decay. Whatever the reason, this can be a nerve-wracking procedure to go through. The good news is, we here at Merivale Dental Group are very experienced at extracting teeth and with the assistance of local anaesthetics are able to do this painlessly. If you are particularly nervous then you may feel more comfortable having your teeth extracted with the aid of a sedative to help you relax and disassociate from what it happening. We are able to provide this service for you.
Wisdom teeth are more often the source of discomfort rather than wisdom! Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars in the mouth and often have no room to erupt. In addition, these teeth often erupt at an angle causing them to be impacted in by the adjacent teeth. The result is often a “partially erupted” wisdom tooth that is difficult to clean, and thus susceptible to dental decay and localized gum disease.
Lower Wisdom Teeth
Lower wisdom teeth are more likely to be impacted than upper ones. They may erupt either vertically, horizontally or at an angle. If left unaddressed, partially erupted lower wisdom teeth can become severely decayed (causing a toothache) or be associated with localized gum disease and bone loss. Unfortunately, this is usually not just limited to the wisdom tooth itself, but can also involve the adjacent tooth.Localized infections, called pericoronitis, can also occur when the gums covering the partially erupted wisdom tooth become severely inflamed and traumatized – this can lead to significant discomfort and limited mouth opening. Pericoronitis is often associated with a number of factors such as stress levels, change of seasons and upper respiratory tract infections. Repeated occurrence of pericoronitis is a strong indication for the removal of these teeth.
Timing for Removal
We always screen for wisdom teeth starting from the adolescent years, as an early sign of impactions is often a strong indicator for their removal. Removing wisdom teeth early on is advantageous as the roots of the teeth are often not fully developed and the bone is somewhat more flexible – both of these make it easier for us to remove these teeth. Therefore, it’s “wise” to have these teeth assessed as soon as you feel them erupt into your mouth.In some cases, the wisdom teeth will fully erupt but quickly become decayed or show signs of early decay. This happens most often in the upper wisdom teeth which are difficult to keep clean. In these cases we may often recommend removing them to aid the oral hygiene process and help protect the adjacent molars.
Surgical vs Non-surgical Removal
This depends on the angle the tooth is erupting. Some teeth are not impacted and can be removed in a similar fashion to any other tooth (non-surgical). We will discuss with you the intended procedure at the consultation visit.
If you are particularly nervous about having an extraction, or indeed any dental treatment then sedation may be the answer for you. The sedative can either be provided as a drink (oral), or intra-venously (IV). The same drug is used for both. The best option depends on your level of nervousness and what sort of dental treatment you need.
Oral sedation works extremely well for shorter procedures, but takes longer for your body to absorb. We usually get you in 30-45 minutes prior to treatment being started to provide you with the sedative. It is particularly useful for people who are extremely nervous of needles, or injections.
IV sedation in injected directly into your bloodstream. This means it takes effect within minutes of being given and can easily be topped up during an appointment if necessary. This is usually our preferred method for longer appointments because of this.
We are very careful with the use of the sedative drug and provide a certain amount of extra monitoring to ensure the procedure is as safe as possible.