Removing or extracting a wisdom teeth is a fairly routine dental procedure. It is mostly done as an in-office surgery where the patient is released in an hour after arrival. Most often, wisdom teeth are extracted in a person’s mid-teens or early twenties before the root has developed completely, and rarely after the age of thirty unless a tooth is actively causing problems. If you need a one or more of your wisdom teeth extracted, you may be nervous about the surgery, which is perfectly natural. We’ll cover the basics of wisdom teeth extraction so you’ll know what to expect before booking your appointment.
Why Wisdom Teeth need to be removed
Sometimes wisdom teeth are extracted as a preventative measure. If your dentist feels that your mouth could become crowded as your wisdom teeth come in, they may want you to get them removed before a problem can start. Wisdom teeth can also only come part of the way out of the gums, causing tissue to grow over them, which can then become infected and sore. Wisdom teeth can also become impacted, meaning they aren’t able to break through the gums properly, which can cause a lot of discomfort in the mouth.
Before the Surgery
Your dental surgeon will take x-rays of your mouth if you haven’t had them done already so they can see the positioning of the tooth or teeth to be removed and the surrounding area. They will explain the specifics of how they plan to do the surgery, and if they will need to give you sedation or local anesthesia (whether they will put you under or just numb your mouth). It may not be necessary to use sedation if you are only having a single tooth removed, but sedation is almost always used during any kind of wisdom tooth extraction. You will need a ride home after the procedure if you are put under, as sedation causes drowsiness and disorientation for several hours afterwards.
The dentist may also order you not to eat or drink at least 8 hours before the procedure to prepare your body for sedation. This is done for your safety, so you don’t breathe in any food or fluids if you vomit while you’re asleep.
The Extraction Procedure
In order to remove a wisdom tooth from the jaw, the dental surgeon opens the gum tissue covering the tooth. They will then remove and bone obstructing the tooth, separate it from any connective tissue, and may even break your wisdom tooth to make it easier to extract. Once the tooth is out the dentist will put a couple of stitches in the gums and move on to the next tooth. When your surgery is through, you will be moved to a recovery room where you will wake up. Shortly after you awake, the dentist will release you to your ride with detailed instructions for aftercare including analgesics and antibiotics and you can go home to rest.