What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that usually appear by the age of 17-21. They are found on each of the four corners of our jaws. Some wisdom teeth may only partially erupt, or stay buried under the gum as there is not enough space for them. These are known as impacted wisdom teeth.
Do I need to extract wisdom teeth?
If the wisdom teeth are developing normally, there is no need to extract them. But in many cases, there is not enough room for the wisdom teeth to erupt properly, hence they become impacted and may potentially cause problems.
As impacted wisdom teeth are partially emerged or misaligned, they may create spaces under the gum that’s hard to clean or with the second molar. These narrow spaces can trap food and create bacteria, which in turn leads to gum infections and tooth decay, potentially affecting the second molar as well. Having wisdom teeth can also make flossing and brushing extra challenging, as these molars are located back where normal toothbrushes cannot reach.
Hence, impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain, swelling of the gums and may even affect the surrounding teeth and so they should be extracted.
What are some signs of wisdom teeth?
Impacted wisdom teeth are not always visible when you look in the mirror as they can be partially emerged in the gum. While impacted wisdom teeth don’t always cause symptoms, they show signs of infection, including:
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Swelling around the jaw
- Bad breath
- An unpleasant taste in your mouth
Regular dental checks will allow your dentist to detect any issues you might have with your wisdom teeth. Your dentist will advise accordingly if they need to be removed.
What to expect during wisdom tooth surgery (before, during, after)
- Let your dentist know if you have any underlying health issues or drug allergies
- Discuss your options for anaesthesia and ask as many questions as you require
- Local anaesthesia or general anaesthesia will be prescribed
- Your dentist will expose the tooth by lifting any gum tissue and removing bone around the tooth
- The tooth will be gently removed by the dentist. It will be sectioned for removal if necessary
- The gums are then stitched back
- The dentist will give you a gauze to bite down on to help the blood clot
During the first 24 hours post wisdom tooth surgery, you may experience the following:
- Bleeding. Some bleeding might occur, but avoid washing your mouth vigorously. Don’t spit continuously too; continuous spitting disturbs the blood clot and causes bleeding.
- Facial swelling. Some facial swelling may surface over the next few days but that is normal.
- Facial bruising. Bruises might appear as part of the healing process but they will gradually subside and fade after a week
- Pain and jaw stiffness. To relieve discomfort from pain and jaw stiffness, your dentist will prescribe anti-inflammatory medication
Additionally, here are some tips to follow for quicker recovery after wisdom tooth surgery:
- Place an ice pack on your face to curb swelling
- Practice a soft diet for the first few days
- Take the painkillers as prescribed and gently rinse your mouth with the antibacterial mouth rinse
- Start brushing your teeth from the second day, but brush the surgery area gently to prevent dislodging blood clots
- Don’t drink with a straw as this may cause blood clots to loosen
- Don’t eat solid or hard food that may scratch the wound
- Don’t smoke as this will cause infection and slow down the healing process
How soon can I resume regular activities after wisdom teeth surgery?
In Singapore, an average of 5 days of medical leave is provided to recover from surgery. However, actual recovery time varies between individuals. This depends on factors like age, the extent of surgery, rest and hygiene. Generally, most patients are able to resume daily activities 2-3 days after surgery. However, they should avoid sports or any strenuous activity and follow the prescribed medication closely.
Is wisdom tooth surgery painful?
Wisdom tooth removal is done under local anaesthesia, so patients will not experience any pain during the procedure. You will experience pain and swelling after the surgery, but the painkillers prescribed by your dentist will provide some relief.
Patients can opt to undergo the surgery with intravenous sedation. It induces a completely relaxed state.
How long does it take for the hole from wisdom tooth removal to close?
The spaces once occupied by wisdom teeth will result in voids or holes in the gum after removal. These spaces will heal and fill with bone but the process can take a few months. During this period, food debris can get trapped. It is recommended to rinse and flush with a syringe after every meal.
You can claim from $350 to $2,600 from your Medisave for your Wisdom Tooth Surgery, depending on the complexity of the surgery.
An average patient can claim $950 per tooth.
Your Medisave Account can be used for immediate family members, i.e. spouse, children, parents.
Steps to Claim
- Patients will fill in the Medisave Claim Form (Provided by the clinic)
- Payment will be made in full by the patient.
- Refund will be processed after approval from Medisave.
- Patient will receive the refund via the mode of payment that was used. (i.e. Credit Card)
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