FAQs about wisdom teeth pain
Try not to wait until your wisdom teeth become troublesome and the pain starts. With regular check-ups, sometimes the dentist can tell you that a wisdom tooth is going to be a problem. Then we can take care of it before it hits at the most inopportune moment – during exams or that important work meeting.
Here we answer some common questions, in part 2 of our informative 3-part series of articles on wisdom teeth:
2 FAQs about wisdom teeth pain
Part 2: FAQs about wisdom teeth pain
I’m in so much pain from my wisdom tooth – it’s unbearable. Is it infected?
Yes, most likely.
When there’s not enough space in your mouth for a wisdom tooth to come through, you might notice that only half of that tooth pokes its head through. What can happen is that the other half of the tooth is covered by gum and, if bacteria gets in there, then it’s almost impossible for the patient to clean it. That’s when bacteria can cause an infection and an abscess around the tooth.
The patient can get a bad taste in their mouth and swelling in the area, which may make it difficult to open and close their mouth. Most people come to us when they have that deep pain in the jaw and the tooth will need to come out straightaway.
My wisdom teeth are taking a long time to come through and are occasionally painful.
Will they still need to be removed?
In most cases, yes, as it’s generally a sign that there’s not enough space for them to come through.
Or the wisdom teeth could be having teething issues, just like when your first adult teeth came through – many of us don’t remember this feeling because it happened when we were a lot younger. As the wisdom teeth poke through the gums, they can sometimes be tender and can take a few weeks to fully erupt.
It really comes down to an oral assessment to see which basket they fall into: whether it’s something we can keep an eye on, or whether there’s not enough space for them and there’s an infection forming, which means that tooth will need to come out.
I have one wisdom tooth that needs to come out and one that’s a question mark.
Should both come out at the same time?
It’s very much a case-by-case basis.
Generally, if you remove one wisdom tooth on one side, the other one on the same side is taken out at the same time or is soon to follow. The reason we may remove both wisdom teeth on one side at the same time is because it reduces the time the patient could be in pain and they can heal more quickly.
If the wisdom teeth on both sides are causing issues, it could be a different story. It really comes back to assessing what needs to be taken out and why.
Will the dentist talk me through the procedure?
In our experience, some people want to be told exactly what’s going on, while others just want to have it done and be none the wiser.
But at all times, whether it’s during a consult or a procedure, it’s our duty to tell them of the risks that are involved,what to expect and how we can best work together.
How long will it take?
It can take anywhere from a couple of minutes to about 20 minutes per tooth. Through proper planning, we aim to reduce surgical time as much as possible without compromising safety.
Does pulling out a wisdom tooth hurt?
No. First you’ll be given a local anaesthetic, which is administered with a needle as gently as possible. The anaesthetic will numb the area that we’re working on. After that, you’ll feel a lot of pressure in your mouth – a pushing and pulling force – but you won’t feel any pain.
What can I do? I’m scared about being awake through it.
When a patient is having wisdom teeth or any other teeth taken out, they can feel like they’re not in control. We like to mention to them is that they’re the ones in charge. If they need a break or to stop for any reason, they can just pop a hand up and we’ll pause.
We also have a TV and a lot of people distract themselves with it. You can put on whatever you like to watch and we’ll make you as comfortable as possible. You can even bring along your own DVD.
However, if the patient is traumatised by it all, then we’d much rather them have a happier experience. We can give them a relaxant such as Valium before the procedure.
What can I take for wisdom teeth pain?
Generally, it’s a combination of Panadol and Nurofen; Panadol has paracetamol to help with the pain, while Nurofen is anti-inflammatory, so it helps keep down the swelling in the area. However, every individual is different and we’ll tailor your medications to reduce your discomfort.
Looking after yourself and letting your body heal – from what is essentially a surgery – goes a long way to reducing the post-operative impacts. Take it easy and make sure you’re not going out to play the night afterwards!
Will I be tired, sore and groggy?
For a good recovery, the timing of wisdom teeth extraction is important, as is resting adequately to ensure it’s all as seamless and pleasant as possible.
Try to book it in during your holidays or quiet time. If you can’t, then the best time to do it is on a Friday, so you have the weekend to recover. By Monday or Tuesday, with the aid of minimum painkillers, patients have recovered well enough to get back to work and do what they need to do.