Wisdom tooth removal process explained by oral surgeon in Valparaiso, IN
Wisdom tooth removal is something that most people will need to have done in their lives. In fact, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, 85 percent of people will need their wisdom teeth extracted at some point in their life. While any surgery can seem daunting, when it is performed by an experienced oral surgeon, wisdom teeth removal can help alleviate pain, soft tissue problems, and over-crowding of your teeth so your mouth can return to and maintain optimal health. Below, the oral surgeons at Stevenson Fairchild & Surber in Valparaiso, IN explain the wisdom tooth removal process. Knowledge is power, and when you are well-informed about what to expect, you can feel calmer and more confident going into the procedure.
Step 1: Consultation
The first step in the wisdom tooth removal process is perhaps the most important—the comprehensive examination of your teeth, as well as a thorough review of your medical history. During this appointment, we take panoramic x-rays to determine where your wisdom teeth are in relation to your sinuses and nerves to precisely plan your surgery. We also go through an extensive medical review to determine what options of anesthesia will best suit your needs. We will also discuss what to expect during and after the procedure and take the time needed to answer any questions that you have. We will then schedule your surgery for a future date and give you instructions to follow prior to the procedure. For example, you may need to stop taking certain medications for a week or two in advance and fasting for a period immediately before your procedure may be necessary.
Step 2: Sedation and anesthesia
When you come in for your procedure, we will start by administering the anesthesia to provide sedation. Depending on the type of extraction that will be done and your treatment preferences, one or more of the following may be used:
- Nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”)
- Oral medications
- Intravenous sedation
We will then numb the area that will be treated with a local anesthetic once you are appropriately sedated and comfortable.
Step 3: Incision of gum tissue
The next step is to either make an incision in the gum tissue around, or on top of the wisdom tooth. The gum tissue is then gently reflected to make the wisdom tooth visible and accessible for removal.
Step 4: Bone removal (if needed)
If your wisdom tooth is impacted, then it may be either partially or fully covered in bone. When this occurs, we use a specialized tool to remove only the necessary amount of bone to access the tooth.
Step 5: Loosening the tooth
Once the tooth is accessible, we will use surgical tools to gently loosen it in its socket. During this process, we may also precisely divide the tooth into sections to ease its removal.
Step 6: Tooth removal and stitches
At this point, we can gently remove your tooth using specialized dental instruments. After it is removed, we may need to stitch the incision closed, especially if the tooth was impacted, using dissolvable sutures. We will then place gauze on the treated area to help with blood clotting, and we will slowly bring you out of sedation. A friend or family member can then drive you home when you are ready.
Step 7: Recovery
We provide extensive aftercare instructions to help expedite your healing and prevent any complications. This includes information on what to expect regarding bleeding, swelling, and pain management so you know what is normal and what you need to call us about. You will also need to refrain from strenuous activities for about a week to prevent the blood clot from breaking free or dissolving within the socket, and we will provide you with instructions on when and how to clean your mouth, what types of foods and beverages are best in the first 24 hours, and whether you need to schedule a follow-up appointment.
Schedule your consultation today
If you have symptoms that indicate that your wisdom teeth may need to be removed, such as headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, discomfort chewing, infected or irritated gums, or tooth crowding, we encourage you not to delay in scheduling a consultation at Stevenson Fairchild & Surber. If your wisdom teeth are impacted, the sooner you have them removed, the quicker your symptoms will be alleviated and the potential for long-term issues will decrease. We have two offices located in Valparaiso and Merrillville for your convenience. Call us today at (219) 307-4382!Back to Wisdom Teeth Page