Wisdom tooth extraction
Wisdom teeth, also known as the third molars, can be extracted before or after they erupt through the gumline, but most procedures take place while the teeth are still under the gums. Some of the reasons you might need to have your wisdom teeth removed include:
- Your wisdom teeth are erupting in a crooked orientation, which can damage other teeth, the jaw, or cause bite problems
- Your wisdom teeth did not fully erupt, which increases the risk of bacterial infection
- Your jaw is too small to accommodate your wisdom teeth
- A cyst has developed around the unerupted wisdom tooth, which can cause infection or injury to the bone or nerve tissue
Removing wisdom teeth helps reduce the risk of future oral health issues, allowing you to brush and floss thoroughly without obstructions.
How to prepare for wisdom teeth removal
If your dentist has recommended wisdom teeth removal, know that it’s a very common procedure that millions of people undergo each year. As an outpatient procedure, you will be able to go home after the surgery is complete. However, depending on the type of anesthesia you receive, you might need to have someone drive you to and from the dental office. Your dental surgeon will also have recommendations for eating prior to the surgery. Be sure to let them know if you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications.
Wisdom tooth extraction with local anesthesia
For some wisdom tooth extraction procedures, patients are put under sedation or general anesthesia, but it’s not always necessary. For simple wisdom tooth extractions, local anesthesia may be enough. Local anesthesia involves an injection near the site of the tooth extraction, providing enough numbing effects to blunt any pain. Once the area is numb, the dentist will make an incision in the gumline to create flaps that expose the tooth and underlying bone. If some of the bone area is blocking the tooth, the dentist will remove it, then divide the tooth into sections to make it easier to remove. Once all the tooth sections and any remaining debris are cleared away, the gums are stitched back together. The dentist will place gauze over the extraction site to control bleeding.