Other serious problems can develop from impacted teeth (when the teeth are stuck in the jaw), such as infection, damage to other teeth and bone, or a cyst. One or more of your wisdom teeth may come in at an awkward angle, with the top of the tooth facing forward, backward, or to either side. Gum disease and tooth decay in the wisdom tooth, which may be harder to clean than other teeth, or in the teeth and jaw in the area of the wisdom tooth are also common.
If you have any infections, surgery will usually be delayed until the infection has cleared up. Our dentist may have you take antibiotics to help heal the infection.
Before removing a wisdom tooth, you will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed. A general anesthetic may be used, especially if several or all of your wisdom teeth will be removed at the same time. A general anesthetic prevents pain in the whole body and will cause you to sleep through the procedure. Our dentist will probably recommend that you don't eat or drink after midnight on the night before surgery, so you are prepared for the anesthetic.
To remove the wisdom tooth, our dentist will open up the gum tissue over the tooth and take out any bone that is covering the tooth. He or she will separate the tissue connecting the tooth to the bone and then remove the tooth. Sometimes the dentist will cut the tooth into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove.
After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. Some stitches dissolve over time and some have to be removed after a few days. Your dentist will tell you whether your stitches need to be removed. A folded cotton gauze pad placed over the wound will help stop the bleeding.
After a wisdom tooth is removed, you may experience pain and swelling in your gums and tooth socket where the tooth was removed. The bleeding may not completely stop for about 24 hours. You may have some difficulty with or pain from opening your jaw (trismus).
As with every surgery, there are always risks, although the majority of people have no problems or complications. Everyone heals at a different rate, but some have slow-healing gums. There is a slight risk of damage to existing dental work, such as crowns or bridges, or to roots of a nearby tooth.
A painful inflammation called dry socket occurs if the protective blood clot is lost too soon. Numbness in your mouth and lips after the local anesthetic wears off has been known to occur due to injury or inflammation of nerves in the jaw.
On rare occasion, this numbness does not go away. Other rare risks include a fractured jaw if the tooth was firmly attached to the jaw bone, an opening into the sinus cavity when a wisdom tooth is removed from the upper jaw, and infection caused by bacteria in the mouth to entering the bloodstream. People who have difficulty fighting off infections may need to take antibiotics before and after dental surgery. Such people include those who have artificial heart valves or were born with heart defects.
Anesthetic (local and/or general) almost always is used during the extraction procedure. All surgeries, including oral surgery, that use general anesthetic have a small risk of death or other complications.
The overall chance of complications is less than 2% (2 in 100 people). The risk is slightly higher if you have wisdom teeth removed from the lower jaw than from the upper jaw.
Before wisdom teeth extraction, particularly when your wisdom teeth are not currently causing problems, it may be difficult to decide whether to have your wisdom teeth removed to prevent possible dental problems later in life. You should consider the following:
You may never have any problems with your wisdom teeth.
It is rarely harmful to your health to have your wisdom teeth removed, but there are slight risks involved with any surgery.
In younger people (late teens and early 20s), the wisdom tooth's roots are not fully developed and the jaw bone is not as dense, so it is easier to remove the tooth. The easier it is to remove the tooth, the easier your recovery is likely to be.
Most problems with wisdom teeth develop between the ages of 15 and 25.
If you are older than age 30, you have only a small risk of having problems with your wisdom teeth. Few people older than 30 develop problems that require removal of their wisdom teeth.
If you have a medical condition that may get worse over time and your teeth may cause problems, consider having your wisdom teeth removed while you are healthy.
Women who decide to have their wisdom teeth removed should try to schedule the surgery for the end of their menstrual cycle (usually days 23 through 28). There seems to be less risk of dry socket during this time.
At Smile Shine Dental, our dentists perform wisdom teeth extraction. If you are having all your wisdom teeth pulled at one time, or are at a high risk for complications, we will recommend that you have an oral and maxillofacial surgeon perform the surgery.
A wisdom tooth is extracted to correct an actual problem or to prevent problems that may come up in the future. When wisdom teeth come in, a number of problems can occur. For example, your jaw may not be large enough for them, and they may become impacted and unable to break through your gums.
Sometimes, your wisdom teeth may break partway through your gums, causing a flap of gum tissue to grow over them. Food and germs can get trapped under the flap and cause your gums to become red, swollen, and painful. These are signs of infection.