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Wisdom Tooth Extraction: What You Need To Know

Dr.Anna Beattie Profile Image

Last Reviewed 02 June 2020

Medically reviewed by Dr.Anna Beattie, Bachelor Dent. Sc. (Trinity College Dublin) 2003, PG Diploma in Conscious Sedation (Newcastle University), Clinical Doctorate in Oral Surgery, Fellow of the Dental Faculty of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Oral Surgeon

Table of Contents

In this post, we discuss everything you need to know about having your wisdom teeth extracted!

Wisdom teeth are an extra third set of molars that often appear during late adolescence and adulthood. 

The mouth often doesn’t have enough space for wisdom teeth and they end up causing pain, or structural damage to other teeth in the mouth.

They can also increase the risk of decay. If this is the case, your wisdom may need to be extracted.

Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to be Removed?

dental surgery

When wisdom teeth start to break through the gum, there generally isn’t enough room for them to fit.

Other problems occur when they come through at an angle or fail to develop correctly which may cause significant issues for the rest of your teeth.

This is especially the case for the second molars at the very back of the jaw because of the extra pressure and the fight for the limited space that’s available.

As mentioned, decay is another major problem. When new wisdom teeth knock the others off balance, it creates small spaces and slightly misaligns the jaw.

This, in turn, alters biting and chewing. Food and other debris can get trapped inside cavities, significantly increasing the risk of decay and further dental problems later on in life.

That said; your dentist might recommend that you get all of your wisdom teeth removed.

Wisdom Tooth Removal Process

Before we take look at the procedure, be aware that some people can be very lucky and not have wisdom teeth. It's also important to note that those unfortunate enough to have wisdom teeth may not need to have them removed.

However, if the dentist says the procedure is necessary, you should follow their advice.

Before The Extraction Process

before the tooth extraction process

Before the wisdom tooth extraction procedure begins, you may have visited your dental clinic complaining of a sore mouth and gums. After conducting an oral exam or routine dental checkup, the dentist may take an x-ray to get a better view of your teeth and find out what way they are growing up through the gums.

Once it has been established that you will need to get these teeth removed, the next step involves discussing the procedure with the dentist. Topics of conversation here usually revolve around the use of an anaesthetic, your current medication (if any) and an explanation of what the procedure entails.

During The Extraction Process

teeth extraction and dental surgery

The dreaded D-Day has finally arrived, now what happens? First off, you will be given an anaesthetic - either a local or you will have the option of IV sedation.

Which option you get will depend on the complexity of the removal process and on the number of wisdom teeth you need removed. Some people may have to get all four out which is better done under IV sedation.

During the procedure, your dentist will:

  • Cut an incision in the gum tissue to expose the tooth and bone
  • Remove any bone that blocks access to the tooth root
  • Split the tooth into sections (it may be easier to remove the tooth in pieces)
  • Extract the tooth
  • Thoroughly clean the area
  • Stitch the wound closed to allow for healing (this isn't always essential)
  • Place gauze over the exposed area to control bleeding

Before you go into the surgery, it’s a good idea to prepare for later.

Get someone to drive you home from your appointment and know that procedures can take anywhere from 45 minutes up to more than two hours.

After The Extraction Process

Your healing time will largely depend on what kind of anaesthetic you received. If it was a local anaesthetic, it will be a lot less than if you were given IV sedation.

You will experience some bleeding, bruising and swelling in the first few days after surgery so be sure to follow your dentist’s recommendations closely when it comes to pain management, smoking, cleaning, eating and drinking.

We have full extraction aftercare instructions on our tooth extraction aftercare instructions page.

Conclusion

If you're getting your wisdom tooth removed soon and wish to know more about the process, check out our Tooth Extractions page and get in touch today.

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