Wisdom teeth are typically removed by a skilled dentist or an oral surgeon in a procedure called an “exodontia” or “wisdom tooth extraction”. The procedure can be completed under local anaesthesia, which numbs only the area around the tooth, or under IV sedation, which will make you relax/sleep, and not remember the procedure.
The surgeon will make an incision in the gums to expose the tooth, and then use an instrument called an elevator to loosen the tooth from the surrounding bone. Once the tooth is loose, it is removed with forceps. The incision in the gums is then closed with stitches.
In some cases, the tooth may be removed in multiple pieces if it is impacted or too large to be removed in one piece, and in other cases small sections of jaw bone may need to be removed. After the procedure, you will be given instructions on how to care for the extraction site to promote healing and minimise the risk of complications.
It’s important to note that the recovery time and experience can vary depending on the person, the difficulty of the extraction, and the number of teeth removed. Generally, the recovery time can take from a few days to a couple of weeks for the swelling to go down and the pain to subside. We often use your own blood to make a healing gel, which speeds up your recovery.
Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure, and complications are generally rare. However, as with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications that can occur. Some of the most common complications associated with wisdom teeth removal include:
- Pain and swelling: Pain and swelling in the extraction site are common after the procedure and typically subside within a few days to a week.
- Bleeding: Some bleeding is normal after the procedure, but excessive bleeding can occur and may require additional treatment.
- Dry socket: This occurs when a blood clot that forms in the socket after the tooth is extracted, is dislodged or dissolves before the socket has healed. It can cause severe pain and delay healing.
- Nerve damage: In rare cases, the extraction of a wisdom tooth can damage the nerves that provide sensation to the lower jaw, tongue, or lip. This can result in numbness, tingling, or a loss of sensation in the affected areas.
- Infection: An infection can occur at the extraction site, which can delay healing and may require antibiotics or further treatment.
- Sinus complications: If the wisdom teeth are located near the sinus, there’s a small chance that the sinus can be perforated during the extraction, leading to sinusitis or other sinus-related complications.
It’s important to inform us of any medical conditions or medications you are taking before the procedure, and to follow the post-operative instructions to minimise the risk of complications and ensure proper healing.