Wisdom tooth extraction is a surgical procedure 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), resulting in pain, infection or other dental problems, you’ll likely need to have it pulled.
Wisdom tooth extraction is performed by a dentist or an oral surgeon. Some dentists and oral surgeons recommend wisdom tooth extraction even if impacted teeth aren’t causing problems, as a preventive measure against potential future problems.
At Bendigo Smiles we are experts in examining, assessing, and treating wisdom teeth, from simple cleaning to extraction.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last permanent teeth to appear in the mouth. These teeth usually appear between the ages of 17 and 25 – thus, as we are older and supposedly smarter, we call them “wisdom” teeth. Some people never develop wisdom teeth. For others, wisdom teeth erupt with no issues — just as other molars did — and cause no problems.
In some cases a wisdom tooth becomes stuck below the surface of your gums, or impacted, or grows at an odd angle, possibly causing complications.
Problems with Impacted Wisdom Teeth
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
You’ll likely need your impacted wisdom tooth pulled if it results in problems such as:
- Damage to an adjacent tooth
- Development of cysts around the wisdom tooth
- Damage to surrounding bone
What About Extraction?
You’ll receive instructions from the hospital or dental clinic staff on what to do before the surgery and the day of your scheduled surgery. Ask these questions:
- Will I need to make arrangements for someone to drive me home?
- When do I need to arrive at your office?
- Do I need to avoid eating food, drinking fluids or both (fast)?
- Can I take my prescription medications before the surgery?
- Should I avoid any nonprescription drugs before the surgery?
What are the Steps of a Wisdom Tooth Removal?
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon or your dentist can remove (extract) a wisdom tooth. The procedure can usually be performed at our Bendigo Smiles office. You may have the surgery in the hospital, especially if you are having all your wisdom teeth pulled at one time or if you are at high risk for complications.
If you have any infections, surgery is typically delayed until the infection can be treated first. Your doctor or dentist may have you take antibiotics to help heal the infection.
Before removing a wisdom tooth, your dentist will give you a local anaesthetic to numb the tooth area. For more serious cases, or patients with dental fear/phobia general anesthetic may be used, especially if several or all of your wisdom teeth will be removed at the same time.
Your dentist will probably recommend that you don’t eat or drink after midnight on the night before surgery so that you are prepared for the anaesthetic. In case of anaesthetic use, it is more likely that you will need someone to drive you home.
To remove the tooth, your dentist will open the gum tissue over the tooth and remove any bone on top the tooth. He or she will separate the tissue connecting the tooth to the bone and remove the tooth. In some cases your dentist will break the tooth into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove.
After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. Some stitches dissolve over time and some have to be removed after a few days. Your dentist will tell you whether your stitches need to be removed. A folded cotton gauze pad placed over the wound will help stop the bleeding.
It is important that a clot be allowed to form in the location of the removed tooth, and your dentist will give you instructions on how to assist this, including staying away from hot drinks, keeping your head elevated while sleeping, and what foods are safe to eat.
Your Trusted Bendigo Smiles Dentist
The team at Bendigo Smiles, a family dental practice, consists of committed, experienced and energetic individuals who are kind and friendly; they bear a common goal – to provide the best care to their patients. The team takes pride in working towards staying current in the field through continuing education and providing treatment under all aspects of general dentistry and catering to people of all ages.
Your Bendigo Smiles team are your partners in health and wellness!