Frequently Asked Questions
What is Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
Wisdom Tooth Extraction is a surgical procedure performed to remove one or more wisdom teeth (the four permanent adult teeth located at the back corners of your mouth on the top and bottom). If a wisdom tooth doesn't have room to grow (impacted wisdom tooth), it results in pain, infection or other dental problems. Wisdom tooth extraction may be done by a Dentist or an Oral Surgeon. To prevent potential future problems, some Dentists and Oral Surgeons recommend wisdom tooth extraction even if impacted teeth aren't currently causing problems.
Why is Wisdom Tooth Extraction done?
Many people develop impacted wisdom teeth (teeth that don't have enough room to erupt into the mouth or develop normally). Impacted wisdom teeth may erupt only partially or not at all.
An impacted wisdom tooth may:
- Grow at an angle toward the next tooth (second molar)
- Grow at an angle toward the back of the mouth
- Grow at a right angle to the other teeth, as if the wisdom tooth is "lying down" within the jawbone
- Grow straight up or down like other teeth but stay trapped within the jawbone
What are the problems associated with impacted wisdom teeth?
An impacted tooth may cause the following complications and hence it should be extracted:
- Severe pain
- Food and debris trapped behind the wisdom tooth
- Gum disease or infection
- Tooth decay
- Damage to neighbouring teeth
- Development of cyst near the wisdom tooth
What preparations to be done before Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
The Dentist may perform the procedure in the clinic. However, if the patient’s tooth is deeply impacted or if the extraction requires an in-depth surgical approach, the Dentist may suggest seeing an Oral Surgeon. In addition to making the area numb with a local anesthetic, the surgeon may suggest sedation to allow the patient to be more comfortable during the procedure.
Depending on the severity and complexity of Wisdom Tooth Extraction, type of sedation is given to the patient such as:
- Local anesthesia
- Sedation anesthesia
- General anesthesia
What are the steps involved in Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
- After sedation is administered, an incision is made on the gums to expose the tooth and bone.
- Then the bone covering or blocking the access to the tooth root is removed.
- If the removal is easier in pieces, then the tooth is broken into pieces and then removed.
- Any remaining debris from the removal site is cleaned.
- Though in all cases stitches aren’t necessary; they are done to promote healing.
- Gauze is placed at the extraction site to control bleeding and for clot formation.
What are the precautions given by the dentist after Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
Following instructions should be followed by the patient after undergoing Wisdom Tooth Extraction:
- Bleeding may continue for a couple of days after the surgery, don’t spit out frequently to avoid dislodging of the clot from the socket or change the gauze as prescribed by the dentist.
- Over the counter pain medications can be taken by the patient to manage pain. However in severe pain, one should consult the dentist.
- To resolve swelling and bruising, use an ice pack as directed by the dentist should be done.
- Normal activities can be carried after a day of the surgery, but strenuous activities should be avoided for at least a week after the surgery.
- Plenty of water intake should be done after the surgery but avoid consuming caffeinated, alcoholic, carbonated or hot beverages for at least 24 hours after the surgery and even the usage of straw should be avoided as sucking can dislodge the clot from the socket.
- Before the surgery, food should be consumed for 24 hours and from the next day, an individual can consume semisoft food.
- Until 24 hours of the surgery, brushing the teeth should be avoided instead use mouthwash or simply just rinse out the food particles after food.
- Smoking should not be done for at least 72 hours after the surgery and chewing tobacco should be avoided for at least a week.
When to seek dentist attention after Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
If following signs and symptoms are experienced by the patient then a dentist should be sought:
- Difficulty swallowing and breathing
- Excess bleeding
- Pain not subsiding after pain medications
- Swelling worsening even after 2 to 3 days
- Bad taste and foul smell that doesn’t improve after saline water gargle
- Oozing out pus or pus in the socket
- Loss of feeling or numbness
- A nasal discharge of pus or blood
What are the risks associated with Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
Usually, Wisdom Tooth Extraction doesn’t cause long term side effects. However, few patients may experience the following:
- A dry socket that is painful or bone being exposed after the blood clot is removed.
- Nearby nerves, teeth, sinuses or jawbone can be damaged.
- Infection or bleeding at the site of surgery.