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What To Expect: Wisdom Teeth Removal


Wisdom Tooth Extractions: What You Should Expect 

In most cases, your dentist or oral surgeon will require to see you for one or two appointments before they take your wisdom teeth out.  They will do an oral exam, take x-rays, and spend some time discussing with you what to expect before, during and after the procedure.  The following information will discuss some things to expect during the procedure.

Consent Form and Post-Op Care Instructions

Upon arrival, you will often be required to sign a consent or release form.  This gives your dentist or oral surgeon permission to remove your tooth or teeth.  It also explains all the possible complications that can occur during a wisdom tooth removal surgery so it is important to read it thoroughly.   Before you are under any type of sedative, your general dentist or oral surgeon will teach you how to care for your wisdom tooth extraction site after the procedure.


Your blood pressure, heart rate and respiration rate will be taken to establish that they are within a safe range for wisdom teeth removal.  These are called your vitals.  It is important that your vitals are within the normal range before you have your wisdom teeth removed because it helps to reduce complications during and after the wisdom teeth removal.  Your blood pressure may be monitored throughout the appointment as well.

Pre-Procedural Rinse

Sometimes your dentist or oral surgeon will require you to rinse your mouth with an antibacterial solution to help reduce the bacterial count in your mouth during wisdom teeth removal.  It is thought that a lower bacterial count will help to reduce the chances of an infection.

Pain Control: General Dentist

Chances are, if you are having your wisdom teeth out by a general dentist, the wisdom teeth extraction will be relatively straightforward.  Most general dentists will refer you to see an oral surgeon for an impacted wisdom tooth or a highly complex wisdom tooth removal.   A general dentist will use local anesthetic to numb the wisdom teeth and the surrounding tissues.  Local anesthetic, or “Novocain,” as most people call it will take away the pain from having a wisdom tooth extracted. There are many different types of local anesthetics and it is very rare for someone to be allergic to local anesthetic.

Pain Control: Oral Surgeon

If you are having your wisdom teeth removed by an oral surgeon, they may offer other options for pain control than a general dentist.  An oral surgeon typically performs the more complex wisdom tooth extractions such as impacted or infected wisdom teeth extractions.  An oral surgeon has an additional 4-6 years of specialized training beyond dental school, so if you have a complicated extraction, you will want to see an oral surgeon.  For pain control, the oral surgeon will use an intravenous sedative.  Intravenous (IV) means that the sedative will be administered through a vein in your arm.  The IV Sedative will often make you sleep through the entire wisdom teeth removal procedure and many times you don’t remember anything after the IV is administered.  Even with an IV sedative, the oral surgeon may still use local anesthetic to numb the area.  This controls pain and bleeding at the site of the wisdom tooth extraction.

To Help You Relax

Occasionally a general dentist or oral surgeon will also provide you with nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas.”  Nitrous oxide is used to calm and relax you.  It does not take away the need for local anesthetic.  Nitrous oxide just makes you not care as much.  A general dentist or oral surgeon can also prescribe you an oral sedative, such as valium, to help you relax through the wisdom teeth removal procedure.

After Surgery

Your general dentist or oral surgeon will monitor you until you come out of sedation.  They will make sure your bleeding is under control too.  If you are under any type of sedative, your general dentist or oral surgeon will require you to have a ride home so you do not drive under the influence of a sedative.

Dr. Marie Durflinger, a general & cosmetic dentist in Auburn, Washington has over 25 years of experience.  If you are having any dental problems you think may be related to wisdom teeth, call 253-833-2200 for an examination today.


This entry was posted on Sunday, October 14th, 2012 at 6:05 am and is filed under Wisdom Teeth. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site. 
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