A wisdom tooth extraction is a common procedure. Although each person is unique, the extraction tends to follow a standard protocol with few surprises or complications. Knowing what to expect may set your mind at ease if you are nervous about your upcoming extraction.
1. Anesthesia & Numbing
The procedure will likely begin with local anesthesia along with some form of sedation or partial sedation, depending on the specifics of the procedure. Some dentists refer to this as sleep dentistry, which typically means you are only partially put under so that you do not feel any discomfort during the tooth extraction. Local anesthesia is used to numb the tissues surrounding the extraction site so that you won't feel any pain.
2. Tissue Resection
Wisdom teeth that require extraction are rarely fully erupted, which means that gum tissue will cover the tooth either partially or fully. Your dentist will perform a resection on the tissue, which means they will carefully slice the tissue open with a scalpel so that the tooth can be accessed with little additional trauma. Proper resection ensures that the extraction site will heal quickly and with as little discomfort as possible.
3. Bone Removal
In some cases, a wisdom tooth can become impacted, which means that there may be bone partially or fully covering the tooth. This does complicate extraction, but it's not an unusual or even an unexpected complication, so your dentist will easily be able to address it. Typically this means using a special high-speed oral drill to free the tooth from the bone so it can be properly removed.
4. Tooth Extraction
Only after the surrounding tissues are out of the way can the tooth be extracted. Your dentist will use a combination of methods to remove the tooth with a minimum amount of damage to the neighboring tissues. A badly impacted tooth, for example, may need to be sectioned into smaller pieces that can be lifted out easily. A fully erupted wisdom tooth, on the other hand, may only need a gentle tug.
5. Wound Stitching
Stitches are put in once all tooth fragments are removed and the extraction site is fully cleaned. Your dentist will use stitches that will dissolve on their own after a few days. The stitches speed up healing and ensure the tissues knit back together properly. Since the stitches do dissolve, you will not have to go back in to have them removed.
Talk to your dentist if you would like more information.