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Wisdom Teeth Extraction: Complications And Risks

A national conversation with regards to the removal of third molars or wisdom teeth was prompted due to the recent demise of a teenager at the time of a common surgical procedure.

Cause of deaths like this referred to as hypoxia from oxygen deprivation is only very rare. However, detrimental risks are deep-rooted in any surgical procedure.

Annually, about 10 million wisdom teeth extraction procedures are performed. While the removal of wisdom teeth is undeniably required for some individuals, several oral surgeons encourage the extraction of third molars so to inhibit possible future infections as well as damage to the tooth.  Yet, some studies propose that less than 12 percent of wisdom teeth removal result to damage or infection to the adjacent teeth.

Moreover, for many people, the extraction of wisdom tooth regardless of its urgency is a week or two weeks of discomfort and pain. A lot of people believe that since getting one’s wisdom teeth out is usual, it is risk-free. In line with this, there are several cases when patients are given questionable data that may, in a few circumstances, negate the informed consent of possible dangers of the surgery.

How is a wisdom teeth removal done?

Here’s how the wisdom tooth is removed:

  • A sedation, depending on what your condition, anxiety level, and preference, will be administered.
  • After the sedation has taken effect, additional X-rays, if needed, will be taken. However, X-rays are often conducted before the procedure to check for the location of the tooth especially when impacted.
  • Once all the above steps are completed, the dentist begins the surgery by removing the gum tissue covering the area of the wisdom tooth’s location. An impacted wisdom tooth will require an incision in the gum tissue to access the tooth. Using a surgical instrument, the gum tissue is pushed out of the way. If a bone is covering the tooth, a high-speed hand piece tool will be used to remove it.
  • Then, the connective tissue from around the wisdom tooth is loosen.
  • The wisdom tooth will be removed from the tooth’s socket.
  • Stitches will also be made to close off the area, if necessary.

The extraction of a wisdom tooth is often done in one day. As it is considered as an outpatient surgery, you are expected to arrive at the dental office and leave it on the same day.

In truth, the removal of wisdom tooth can be performed either in an operating theatre or dentist’s surgery clinic and this is usually performed by an oral surgeon. It is also worth mentioning to note that the decision hinges on the complexity of the surgical procedure as well as the kind of anesthetic being used.

In case the dentist or doctor advise wisdom tooth extraction, be certain to be well-informed with regards to the procedure and learn more about the record and experience of the oral surgeon.

Is wisdom teeth removal safe?

The extraction of the wisdom teeth is generally safe as it is a procedure commonly performed by oral surgeons. However, rare and relatively benign complications may occur.

Possible Wisdom Teeth Extraction Side Effects

  • Subsequent stitches or infection in the extraction area
  • Potential complications and risks of anesthesia such as stroke and heart attack
  • A painful inflammation felt in the extraction area referred to as dry socket.
  • Chances of nerve damage from wisdom teeth extraction which can lead to loss of taste, permanent numbness, other tongue and mouth problems
  • Long-lasting loss of feeling in the cheek, tongue or lip that does not go away, ranging from total numbness to feeling of being pinched with pins and needles
  • Damage to structures of adjacent teeth or existing dental work
  • Fracture in the jaw can emerge if the surgeon removes a portion of the bone in order to easily access the impacted tooth
  • Root fragments or bone splinters may be left behind in the gum tissue
  • Tooth fragments left after extraction
  • Delayed healing or infection, both of which are possible to occur especially when the patient smokes at the time of recovery.

Why is it important to look after one’s wisdom teeth?

Extra care is necessary to be taken with wisdom teeth that are not totally erupted. This is to ensure that infection and cavities are prevented. Keep in mind that it is fundamental to floss between the teeth especially those located between the tooth in front and the wisdom tooth. It is also essential to carefully and properly brush the hard to reach areas.


Disclaimer: The oral health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. Hawaii Family Dental strongly recommends to always consult licensed dentists or other qualified health care professionals for any questions concerning your oral health.


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