Wisdom Tooth Surgery

The extraction of wisdom teeth, through wisdom tooth surgery, can range from simple to difficult and may be quite involved. Most extractions are routine; however some difficult extractions can lead to such things as bleeding, infection, swelling and pain.

Upper wisdom teeth are often separated from the sinus by a thin bone and membrane. Occasionally when wisdom teeth are removed a small hole is formed between the sinus and the extraction site. If this happens, the area can be closed with a small suture. The patient is then instructed not to blow their nose, forcefully for several weeks. Decongestants and antibiotics are prescribed and the patient is seen in several weeks for a follow up to check progress.

Lower wisdom teeth often have roots that wrap around or lie very near to the inferior alveolar nerve. This is the nerve that supplies all sensation to the tongue, teeth and lip on each side of the mouth. Sometimes during extractions this nerve can be bumped or bruised causing a change of sensation on the side of the face where the extraction occurred. In most cases the nerve heals on its own over time. It can take from six months to one year for normal feeling to return. In rare situations, the nerve damage may be permanent.

With the extraction of wisdom teeth one can expect swelling and difficulty in opening because of stretched muscles. One might also experience an earache, sore throat and increase in temperature for one or two days. Bruising may occur and last for several days. The corners of the mouth may be dry and cracked from stretching.

The patient is sent home with postoperative instructions and some pain medication. If stitches were placed the patient will have to return in about 1 week to have them removed.

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