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Wisdom Teeth Extraction: Complications And Risks

A national conversation regarding the removal of the third molars or wisdom teeth was prompted due to the recent demise of a teenager during a common surgical procedure.

Death during surgery via hypoxia from oxygen deprivation, however, is very rare. Although, it’s important to note that detrimental risks are part of any surgical procedure.

Annually, about 10 million wisdom teeth extraction procedures take place. In fact, the removal of wisdom teeth is undeniably a must for some individuals. Several oral surgeons encourage the extraction of the third molars to inhibit possible future infections as well as damage to the tooth. Yet, some studies propose that less than 12 percent of wisdom tooth removal results in damage or infection to the adjacent teeth.

Moreover, for many people, the extraction of wisdom tooth, regardless of its urgency, only suffer a week or two of discomfort and pain. Thus, many believe that since wisdom tooth removal is common and is quick to heal from, it is risk-free. In line with this, there are several cases when patients receive questionable data that may, in a few circumstances, negate the possible dangers of the surgery.

How do surgeons perform wisdom teeth removal?

Here’s how dental professionals remove a wisdom tooth:

  • A sedation, depending on your condition, anxiety level, and preference, will be administered.
  • After the sedation has taken effect, additional X-rays, if necessary, will be taken. However, X-rays are often taken before the procedure to check its location of the tooth.
  • Then, the dentist will begin 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 dentist will push the gum tissue out of the way. If a bone is covering the tooth, your dentist will use a high-speed handpiece tool to remove it.
  • Then, your surgeon will loosen the connective tissue from around the wisdom tooth.
  • Finally, your dentist or surgeon will then be able to remove the wisdom tooth from its socket.
  • To ensure fast healing, your dentist or oral surgeon will stitch up the area to close it off, if necessary.

It usually only takes one day for a wisdom tooth extraction. Being an outpatient surgery, you often arrive at the dental office and leave the same day.

In truth, the removal of wisdom tooth can be performed either in an operating room or dentist’s surgery clinic. Nevertheless, an oral surgeon usually performs this surgery. It is also worth mentioning that the decision depends on the complexity of the surgical procedure as well as the kind of anesthetic necessary.

In case you require wisdom tooth extraction, understand what the procedure entails. Additionally, learn more about the record and experience of your prospective oral surgeon.

Is wisdom tooth removal safe?

The extraction of the wisdom teeth is generally safe as it is a common surgery oral surgeons frequently perform. However, rare and relatively benign complications may occur.

Possible wisdom tooth 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. As a result, this 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 do not go away. This can range from total numbness to a pins and needles sensation.
  • Damage to the 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 present in the gum tissue from the surgery.
  • Tooth fragments left after extraction
  • Delayed healing or infection, both of which are possible especially when the patient smokes at the time of recovery

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

Extra care is especially necessary with wisdom teeth that fail to totally erupt. This is especially true when it comes to preventing infections and cavities. Keep in mind that it is fundamental to floss between the teeth, including the wisdom tooth and its adjacent teeth. 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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