Liverpool Day Surgery performs a wide range of dental procedures but the most common are fillings and extractions, all of which are done under a general anaesthetic.

Wisdom teeth and what to do about them

Wisdom teeth (also called “third molars”) usually do not push through the gums until people are in their late teens, twenties or even older.  Wisdom teeth are usually the last teeth to come through the gums.

Most people have four wisdom teeth.  Some people have no wisdom teeth.

Often there is little space at the rear of the jaws for wisdom teeth to come easily through the gums.  If the jaw does not have enough room for the wisdom tooth to come through, the tooth will become wedged in or “impacted”.

Some impacted wisdom teeth remain buried and cause no trouble.  However, other impacted wisdom teeth may cause severe problems.

Often one or more wisdom teeth will cause problems and must be removed.  If one or more of your wisdom teeth causes problems, your dentist may recommend that it be removed.

Removal of a wisdom tooth is a very common procedure.  Removal of troublesome wisdom teeth should usually be done as soon as possible before the problems get worse.

All dental procedures are removed under general anaesthetic.

Dental Fillings

Dentists in Australia use amalgam fillings to repair and restore millions of teeth every year. Dental amalgam is strong, long-lasting, easy to use, and not expensive.

Amalgam has stood the test of time. During the past 160 years, it has been used in teeth of millions of people around the world. Amalgam still has an important role in modern dentistry.

Some people prefer white fillings because they have a much better appearance. Where possible, dentists will use these materials. However, these non-amalgam fillings are not as strong as amalgam and are not as resistant to the heavy grinding forces on the back teeth

Anaesthesia for oral surgery

Surgery performed within the mouth is known as oral surgery.  Oral and maxillofacial surgeons, dental surgeons and dentists all perform oral surgery.

Minor procedures such as a simple tooth extraction are usually performed with a local anaesthetic administered  by the dentist in the dental surgery.  So-called “laughing gas”, a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen, is also occasionally used for simple procedures.

However more invasive or complex surgical procedures will require a general anaesthetic.  These procedures include:

  1. Removal of severely impacted and buried teeth (especially third molars, commonly called wisdom teeth)
  2. Exposure of partially  erupted teeth to facilitate better eruption
  3. Placing of surgical implants, such as dental implants to replace lost teeth

For most patients having dental surgery, the procedure are usually fairly short, so most patients go home a few hours after the procedure.

Young children who are particularly fearful may need to have general anaesthesia, even for relatively simple oral surgery.  General anaesthesia in a child can greatly reduce anxiety and assist the child’s acceptance of regular dental care.

Pain relief after surgery

Postoperative pain is often relieved by local anaesthetic injected during the procedure by the dentist or surgeon, drugs such as paracetamol (oral or suppositories) or paracetamol and codeine mixtures.

Stronger pain killers such as morphine and pethidine are used after major surgery.  Anti-inflammatory drugs are often prescribed, if suitable for the patient.