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Wisdom Teeth Removal: A Helpful Q & A

Do you need to have wisdom teeth pulled, whether from crowding in your mouth, a molar coming in wrong or being infected?

Today’s state-of-the-art technology makes wisdom tooth extraction easier and more comfortable with proven sedation methods.

Check out some of the most common questions we get about wisdom tooth extractions, so you feel more prepared and confident about treatment!

Is Extraction Right for You?

If these molars or wisdom teeth are causing problems in your smile, you may consider having them extracted. They are the last of your teeth to come in, and our skilled oral surgeons commonly perform wisdom tooth removal. They aren’t necessary to chew, and if they get impacted or infected, they can cause you discomfort and problems. It can happen if they come in at an angle directed towards the nearby second molar or at an angle pointing towards the back of your mouth. They can also come out lying down in your jaw, sitting at a right angle to the surrounding teeth, or erupting straight up or down like their neighboring teeth but getting stuck in the jawbone.

When wisdom teeth become problematic, you can find yourself in pain from food particles or oral debris making their way behind the emerging tooth or if you have gum disease. Like their counterparts, partially erupted wisdom teeth can experience decay and cavities, often because they can be so hard to clean every day. Our oral surgeons recommend pulling wisdom teeth if they are causing problems (or if they can damage neighboring teeth or the bone material). Cysts can form around the tooth, and if you are entering orthodontic treatment, wisdom teeth can often get in the way. In these cases, removing them might be better for your smile overall.

How will I know if my wisdom tooth needs to be taken out?

Your dentist often spots a wisdom tooth that needs extracting at your routine dental checkup. These third molars need to be coming in correctly so you can clean between them and the gums around them are not harboring infection-causing bacteria.

They need ample room to erupt, and you don’t want an impacted wisdom tooth with a cyst that could harm the bone or the roots of neighboring teeth.

What do I need to do to prepare for my wisdom tooth extraction?

Extracting wisdom teeth is usually an outpatient procedure so that you can return home the same day of your treatment armed with aftercare instructions. You are given instructions to follow to prepare in advance for your wisdom tooth removal. We will answer all your questions to help you feel more comfortable and prepared. You will be given a numbing agent and anesthesia before the surgery, whether with local anesthesia, sedation anesthesia, or general anesthesia. Depending on your choice of anesthesia, you may need to have someone drive you home afterward. You will also be prescribed medication in advance.

I’ve heard about something called a dry socket after a wisdom tooth extraction. What is that?

A dry socket happens when your post-surgical blood clot becomes loose from your socket, exposing the bone underneath. This condition is often painful and slows down your socket’s healing process. Should this occur, we will keep you as comfortable as possible.

What do I need to do before my extraction?

You’ll need to arrange for a driver to bring you to and from your surgery. You’ll also need to adhere to all post-surgery dietary restrictions. You’ll need to clear your current medical prescriptions including any over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that you take daily as they may affect healing.

How will you keep me comfortable during the procedure?

We offer local anesthesia placed via injection at the site once we have applied a numbing agent. You’ll still be awake and feel some pressure at the surgical site but no pain.

We also offer sedation anesthesia that is given intravenously through an IV line with a numbing agent applied to your gums. You’ll sleep and feel no pain during the surgery. The third option is getting general anesthesia which you simply inhale and sleep comfortably.

How will my wisdom tooth be removed?

Our oral surgeon carefully makes an incision in your gums, exposing your tooth and the bone beneath it. If the bone is preventing access to your wisdom tooth, it will be taken out so we can divide the tooth into parts that are easier to extract. Once the tooth is out, we’ll clean the area and suture the socket. We’ll place sterile gauze over the site to stop the bleeding and facilitate clotting.

What can I expect after my wisdom tooth removal?

You’ll be in a recovery room while the anesthesia wears off unless you had a local, then you might recover in the procedure chair you are in.

Are there aftercare instructions?

Yes! You’ll be given thorough aftercare instructions. You’ll need to change out your gauze every half hour or so until the bleeding stops. Drink as much water as you need (no straw) and stick to liquids and soft foods for a couple of days.

Over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen can be taken along with an ice pack applied outside the area. It should be okay to go back to your normal routine the next day but don’t do anything strenuous for around a week until the wound is properly healed.

Before you know it, your mouth will feel better, and you’ll never have to worry about that problematic tooth again. We hope this information gives you the peace of mind you need to have your wisdom teeth taken out without fear or reservation. We are here for your healthy smile!