FAQs about Removing Wisdom Teeth
Why does the wisdom tooth need to be removed?
The usual reasons for removing the wisdom tooth are:
- It is impacted or jammed against adjacent teeth, bone or cheeks
- It is very difficult to clean and so likely to cause tooth decay or gum disease.
- It is over-grown and out of alignment or interfering with your bite.
- It is badly decayed or damaged
- It is shaky due to bone loss caused by gum infection
- Itmakes it more difficult to straighten your teeth with orthodontic treatment
- It will be an obstruction for your denture or implant.
How will the wisdom tooth be removed?
The removal of a wisdom tooth does not always require surgery. If the tooth is already fully grown into the mouth, it may be possible to remove it by a straight-forward extraction.
If the tooth is impacted or jammed; or buried within the bone, then surgery is needed.
In the great majority of cases, removal of the wisdom tooth is done under local anaesthetic i.e. an injection which will make the area of your jaw numb. The numbness from the anesthetic will last a few hours.
If you are very apprehensive, you can ask for oral sedation i.e. take a pill to make you feel more relaxed and calm during the procedure.
In some cases, when the wisdom tooth is deeply buried or difficult to remove or several teeth need to be removed, you can choose to have surgery done under general anaesthetic i.e. you will be asleep during the procedure. This is normally done at a day-surgery facility where you would need to stay for several hours or a day.
It is also possible to have the procedure done under intra-venous (IV) sedation or possible nitrous oxide sedation.
What can I expect immediately after surgery to remove the wisdom tooth?
- Post-surgery pain can occur but usually lasts for just a few days. Pain-killers will be given to help manage the pain.
- Post-surgery swelling and bruising. Facial swelling and sometimes slight bruising will occur on the side of surgery, which will resolve after a few days.
- Trismus or stiffness of the jaw. This is temporary and due to swelling which will resolve.
- This can be prevented by biting firmly on a piece of gauze.
- Dry Socket. Occasionally, the blood clot in the wound may disintegrate and the wound may become painful and the healing prolonged. If this occurs, please call the clinic.
- Infection, which would be felt as fever, swelling or pain. Antibiotics will be prescribed to manage this.
- Temporary paraesthesia or numbness of the lower lip or on the same side of the tongue can occur. This is rarely permanent.
- When the wisdom tooth is deeply buried, the overlying bone has to be removed. After healing, there will be a depression behind the 2nd
What are some of the risks of removing the wisdom tooth?
- When the 2nd molar (the tooth in front of the wisdom tooth) has slender or convergent roots, it is possible for the tooth to be a little mobile after surgery.
- Numbness of the lip or side of the tongue is a rare possibility. Numbness or paraesthesia occurs when the wisdom tooth lies very close or lies across a nerve that runs through the lower jawbone. The relative risk of this will be assessed withX-rays. In some cases, a 3-dimensional X-ray called a CBCT (Cone-Beam Computed Tomogram) may be needed to get a better assessment of the position of the wisdom tooth relative to the nerve
- If the upper wisdom tooth is very close to the sinus, extraction of the tooth may lead to a perforation of the sinus floor. This perforation would require a surgical procedure to repair it.
- If the root of the wisdom tooth is curved or very fine, there is the possibility of the root tip fracturing. Depending on the condition, the root fragment may need to be removed surgically. In some cases, the root tip can be left within the bone and the site will heal naturally.
How much time do I need to take off work?
If the tooth is removed by extraction, you will be sore for only a day or two.
If surgery is required, you will be given about 5 days of medical leave depending on the condition
Can I use my Medisave to pay for the Surgery?
Depending on the nature of the surgery Medisave can be used to pay part or all of the fees
The above information serves as general information.
The particular details of your condition, surgery and fee estimates will be discussed prior to the procedure.