What is “wisdom tooth extraction”?

Extraction of a wisdom tooth or removal of a wisdom tooth from the jaw bone and the adjacent tissues is usually different than extraction or removal of other teeth. This is because most times wisdom teeth are “impacted” or in other words have lost the ability to erupt or come out of the bone into the oral cavity due to lack of space.

Why do these teeth need to be extracted?

When these teeth do not have the space they require to come out of the jaw bone into the oral cavity, they start to push or eat away adjacent teeth and get stuck half way causing infection from decay or bacterial accumulation, pain, swelling, cyst formation and damage to adjacent structures. With experience and precise diagnoses, we are able to predict when this is likely to happen and preventively extract these teeth to avoid future complications. Possible complications from leaving wisdom teeth can be:

  1. Infection around a partially erupted wisdom tooth due to accumulation of food under the gum surrounding it.
  2. Resorption or eating away of the root of the adjacent teeth
  3. Pushing of the adjacent teeth into other spaces and possible crowding of the anterior teeth and other teeth.
  4. Development of cysts and tumors around the wisdom teeth as the tooth forming cells are still active and present.
  5. Development of periodontal pockets which are bacterial harbors with possible loss of bone and inflammation between wisdom tooth and adjacent molar.

I have heard the surgery is very painful. Is it true?

Dental procedures should not cause pain unless local anesthesia or tooth numbing isn’t working. However, with the right form of sedation and local anesthesia, you will be very comfortable and the procedure will be virtually painless. We offer various sedation and relaxation options. Click here to find out more about this.

Will it cause discomfort?

During an extraction, the area and the tooth is numb from the use of a local anesthetic. We use the local anesthetic to numb the area so you are comfortable throughout the procedure, however, keep in mind extracting a tooth can sometimes involve a lot of pressure that you will continue to feel. We also provide relaxation/sedation, available on request – just let us know before we schedule your appointment. After the numbness wears off, for most people there will be some swelling & tenderness. The amount of swelling will vary individually but expect to take time off work or school for about a week. If the extraction was traumatic or the post-operative instructions were not followed or oral hygiene is not optimum, a condition called dry socket can develop that is an extremely painful condition that will resolve automatically within a month. We can also place an analgesic pack in the area to help reduce the symptoms temporarily. If this condition arises, we advise that you back to see us so we can rule out other possible complications such as infections or sharp bones.

What happens after my extraction?

The healing capacity of your body will dictate how fast the area around the tooth will heal. Stitches are usually placed to close the area to accelerate healing and depending on the type you must return to the office to take them out. Bleeding may continue for upto two days and your mouth may taste like blood for upto 5 days. Swelling and pain for up to a week are normal. If dry socket develops, expect to have some discomfort for up to a month that resolves automatically and is not an infection. We strongly recommend returning to the office one week after the extractions to assess healing and follow up or perform removal of stitches if necessary. Damage to adjacent teeth either from before the surgery or during surgery is a risk associated with this procedure. We will inform you if this is the case and will advise you further on what should be done to fix or reduce this damage. If wisdom tooth was very close to the adjacent teeth and severe bone loss has occurred, we may advise filling the area with some artificial bone so that the chances of bone healing and recovery in the area are improved.

Should I take my antibiotics and pain medication?

It is very important that you take all your antibiotics and pain medication as prescribed to help rid the area of infection and post-operative discomfort. As with all antibiotics, FINISH the prescription as directed even if the area feels fine. If the antibiotics give you diarrhea, difficult breathing or make your skin break out, you may be allergic to that antibiotic; stop taking them and call our office IMMEDIATELY and we will change the prescription for you.  If you develop a severe reaction to any medicine you must seek emergency medical care.

Watch the following videos to understand more: