Wisdom teeth

Wisdom tooth removal

Wisdom teeth

Your wisdom teeth are the last to erupt through the gum, into the mouth.  Sometimes there is not enough room for them in the jaw; they may become trapped or “impacted” in the jaw bone or gum and remain partly or fully buried.

Why do we remove impacted (buried) wisdom teeth?

The gum around an impacted wisdom tooth may become infected.  This can cause pain, swelling, and jaw stiffness. In some rare cases patients can be generally unwell and need medical treatment.

An impacted tooth may decay even though it is not visible in the mouth.  This can cause pain.  It may also damage healthy teeth or push them out of position

You may have had trouble already and been advised to have your wisdom teeth removed.  If you wait until they cause trouble again, you may need to be treated before they can be removed.

What should you expect after removal?

The removal of an impacted wisdom tooth is not a simple extraction.  It is a small operation and some bone may need to be removed to allow removal of the tooth.  Stitches are often required too. As with any operation, you must expect some discomfort and facial swelling afterwards, which can last a few days. This is just the body's way of protecting the healing gum against too much movement and it can make eating and swallowing difficult for a while.  Sometimes there will be some bleeding afterwards but we always make sure this has stopped before you go home.  Over the next few days, you may notice come bruising on your face, this is nothing to be concerned about and will disappear after a week to ten days.  The amount of discomfort and how long it lasts varies from patient to patient.

Are there any risks?

There are always some risks involved with any surgery and the removal of wisdom teeth is no exception.  The removal of any tooth leaves a socket in the bone to heal, but sometimes this is complicated and delayed if the blood clot is lost (a “dry socket”).  This may prolong your discomfort and need to be treated by either your own dentist or one of the specialists at Blackhills Clinic.

There are two nerves very close to your lower wisdom teeth which supply feeling to your teeth, lower lip and side of tongue.  The greatest care is taken to protect these nerves while your teeth are being removed, but sometimes they can be bruised or injured.  This can result in numbness, altered sensation or chronic pain which can be temporary or in a tiny number of cases, could be permanent.  We must balance these small risks against the benefit to you of removing your wisdom teeth.

If your teeth pose any additional special risks, these will be carefully discussed with you.

The decision to have your wisdom teeth removed is always yours. 

Related Resources

Blackhills Extraction Patient Information
Patient Resources