Wisdom Teeth (cont.)
Michael G. Sherman, DMD
Dr. Sherman received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1999. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Dr. Sherman was accepted into the research fellowship program at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. After the fellowship program, Dr. Sherman was accepted into Tufts School of Dental Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts. Following dental school, Dr. Sherman was accepted into the postgraduate endodontic program at Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Sherman is currently in private practice in the field of endodontics in San Diego's North County.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- What are wisdom teeth?
- How do I know if I have wisdom teeth?
- Do all wisdom teeth need to be extracted?
- How is wisdom teeth extraction performed?
- What is the recovery like after wisdom teeth extraction?
- What are the potential risks and complications of wisdom teeth extraction?
- How much does wisdom teeth extraction cost?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
How is wisdom teeth extraction performed?
Once a wisdom tooth is deemed problematic, extraction by an oral surgeon or qualified general dentist is usually indicated. Local anesthesia is administered to ensure the tooth can be pulled out without any discomfort. A minor surgery is performed where the tissue and bone around the wisdom tooth are removed so that the tooth can be cleanly extracted from the socket. Several stitches may be needed to close the surgical site and promote healing of the overlying tissue.
What is the recovery like after wisdom teeth extraction?
The recovery and healing from wisdom tooth extraction usually occurs over a 48 to 72 hour period. It is normal to have slight bleeding (oozing) from the site considering the surgical procedure performed. The bleeding should start to ease after the first 24 hours. Pain medication is often prescribed to help with any postoperative symptoms and discomfort. Adhering to the postoperative instructions of the surgeon is important to minimize any complications.
What are the potential risks and complications of wisdom teeth extraction?
Although the postoperative recovery is usually uneventful, problems can occur. The most common adverse occurrence of a wisdom tooth extraction is a dry socket or alveolar osteitis. This condition is created when the blood clot in the surgical site accidentally dislodges. Once this occurs the bone along the extraction socket can become inflamed and painful. If a dry socket occurs the surgeon should be contacted. This complication is easily treated and often resolves quickly with a packing medication or stimulation of a new blood clot. More serious complications are rare but can include injury to the adjacent inferior alveolar nerve or problems with the temporomandibular joint as a result of trauma to the area. The potential risks of wisdom tooth extraction should be reviewed with your dentist. If a wisdom tooth is deemed compromised, removal of the tooth in adolescence is advantageous to extracting the tooth in late adulthood. Discussion with your dentist about the condition of the wisdom teeth and timeline for the extractions is important and will help minimize complications.
How much does wisdom teeth extraction cost?
The cost of the procedure is often dependent on whether the tooth is fully impacted and can range from about $200 to $600 dollars per tooth. The cost can increase if sedation is needed or requested.
Najjar, T., et al. "Tooth Extraction." Medscape. 4 Apr. 2013.
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