Tooth Extraction

Tooth extraction (removal) procedures

There are two types of extractions:

  • A simple extraction – this procedure is on a tooth that can be seen in the mouth. For a simple extraction, the dentist loosens the tooth with an instrument called an elevator. Then the dentist uses forceps to remove the tooth.
  • A surgical extraction – this is a more complex procedure, which is used if a tooth may have broken off at the gum line or has not erupted in the mouth. The oral surgeon will make a small incision into your gum to surgically remove the broken tooth or impacted wisdom tooth.

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth usually appear at the back of your mouth during your late-teens or early twenties.

Why are wisdom teeth a problem?

  • Often there is no room for wisdom teeth to erupt (come through the gum) and the teeth fail to emerge properly.
  • A wisdom tooth can erupt partly through the gum or remain trapped below the gum- this is known as an ‘impacted’ wisdom tooth.

Why don’t my wisdom teeth fit my mouth?

  • There are a few theories as to why wisdom teeth don’t fit many people’s mouth. Some experts think genetics may play a part – for example you may have inherited one parent’s small jaw, and another parent’s large teeth.
  • Another theory suggests the size of our mouths have decreased over the centuries, because our diet changed, and our jaws don’t need to be as large or as strong as they were in prehistoric times.

Do I need to have my wisdom teeth removed?

Your wisdom teeth only need to be removed if they cause problems. For example:

  • Wisdom teeth can be very difficult to clean, and are prone to tooth decay, gum disease, and recurring infections.
  • Cysts and tumours can develop in tissues around impacted wisdom teeth.
  • If your wisdom teeth are unable to erupt, they may cause pressure and damage or crowd neighbouring teeth.

If my wisdom teeth need removing, who will do it?

Straightforward removal of wisdom teeth may be done in your own dentist’s surgery. If your case is more complex, your dentist may decide to refer you to an oral surgeon.

Will it hurt?

Surgical removal of wisdom teeth can cause more discomfort than routine extractions.

You may experience:

  • Some swelling and minor bleeding
  • Difficulty in fully opening your mouth
  • A change of sensation or numbness of you lip or chin

All of these symptoms are temporary, and in most cases your mouth will be feeling normal a week after your surgery.

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