It is sometimes necessary to visit an oral surgeon to have wisdom teeth removed. This is usually the case when teeth are impacted. Also, some patients choose to have their wisdom teeth removed before they have ever erupted. In that case, it is also necessary to schedule surgery.
Why can't a general dentist surgically remove wisdom teeth?
Typically, a general dentist does not perform oral surgery. They are available to extract wisdom teeth that have erupted through the gums and have done so in a relatively straightforward fashion. This makes it possible for them to grasp the tooth with a pair of dental pliers, in a solid piece. Unfortunately, wisdom teeth are not known for being cooperative. It is far more common for them to grow in such a way that surgery becomes necessary.
How does an oral surgeon complete the procedure?
Typically, when a patient visits to learn about extraction, we will conduct an examination and take X-rays to determine if surgery is the best way to go. If it is, we will need to schedule the appointment for a later date. During the surgery, the patient will be asleep so that they do not feel any pain and will not remember the actual procedure.
The surgeon will then need to cut a flap in the gum tissue so that the tooth underneath can be accessed. Sometimes it is possible for the surgeon to then grab hold of the tooth and simply pull it out. However, sometimes the tooth will need to be broken into several pieces and the pieces will need to be extracted individually.
After removing the tooth, we will need to clean the area, place the gum flap back down and suture it in place. Gauze will then help to stop the bleeding. The patient will need to recover for a while before going home. While this may take a couple of hours, it depends on the patient and how the procedure goes.
What is the recovery process like?
After an oral surgeon has removed the wisdom teeth, there will be a recovery process that varies in intensity based on how the procedure went and a patient's individual health. It is common for patients to experience swelling after the procedure that can last for a couple of days. During this time, we recommend using a cold compress and taking ibuprofen to help reduce the swelling.
Then, for a couple of weeks, it may be difficult to eat certain foods. We make a full recommendation of what patients should and should not eat, etc. during post-operative instructions. We will want to conduct a follow-up appointment to determine how well the patient is healing. When we are confident that the gums heal appropriately, we will give the green light for the patient to return to a normal diet.
Visit an oral surgeon to learn more
We encourage anyone who is interested in having their wisdom teeth removed to call our office and schedule an appointment so that we can conduct an examination, determine if this is the best course of action and answer questions about the treatment.