Wisdom teeth surgery, sometimes referred to as exodontia, is the removal of one or more wisdom teeth from the mouth. Wisdom teeth surgery is performed for a wide variety of reasons, but primarily when impacted or problematic wisdom teeth are threatening a patient's health. As wisdom teeth surgery can vary tremendously in complexity, depending on the patient and the tooth, a wide variety of instruments exist to address specific situations.
Reasons for Surgery
- Insufficient space for wisdom teeth (impacted wisdom teeth).
- In preparation for orthodontic treatment (braces).
- Severe gum disease which may affect the supporting tissues and bone structures of teeth.
- Severe tooth decay or infection.
Wisdom Teeth Surgery can be categorized as either "simple" or "surgical".
Simple wisdom teeth surgery is performed on teeth that are visible in the mouth, usually under local anesthetic, and require only the use of instruments to elevate and/or grasp the visible portion of the tooth. Typically the tooth is lifted and rocked back and forth to make the tooth loose enough to remove.
Surgical wisdom teeth extractions involve the removal of wisdom teeth that cannot be easily accessed, usually because they are under the gum line.
Although every patient is treated with great care to prevent discomfort, complications do sometimes occur. A few complications that can occur after wisdom teeth surgery include:
- Infection: although rare, it does occur on occasion. The dentist may opt to prescribe antibiotics pre- and/or post-operatively if he/she determines the patient to be at risk because of wisdom teeth surgery.
- Bleeding: The dentist has a variety of means at his/her disposal to address bleeding, however, it is important to note that small amounts of blood mixed in the saliva after extractions are normal.
- Swelling: Often dictated by the amount of surgery performed to extract a tooth (e.g. surgical irritation to the tissues surrounding a tooth).
The dentist will discuss these and any other potential complications with you before wisdom teeth surgery.
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