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Extractions & Minor Oral Surgery

Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Tooth eruption is nothing but the process in which the tooth travels from beneath the jaws to enter the mouth and become visible to us. A tooth is called "impacted" if its path is obstructed by any other tooth, bone or soft tissue.

Depending upon the position of the impacted tooth inside the jawbone, there are four types of impaction:

  • Mesial Impaction
  • Vertical Impaction
  • Horizontal Impaction
  • Distal Impaction

An impacted wisdom tooth may cause gum swelling in the back of your mouth, difficulty or pain in opening your jaw, bad breath, bad taste in the mouth, and pain while chewing or biting.

X-rays of the wisdom teeth are taken to assess the positions, shapes and sizes of the tooth, the covering bone and the nerve. X-rays also locate cysts or tumours that may be associated with the tooth and to assist the surgeon to plan the surgical procedure.

In cases where there is sufficient space for the teeth to erupt such as with soft-tissue impaction, then a Pericoronal flap excision is done. The second option is surgical removal of impacted third molars between ages 16-20 if it is found that there is no space for them to erupt.

  • Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs are given to eliminate infection in the area.
  • It is a minor surgical procedure lasting 20-45 minutes.
  • The procedure is done under local anaesthesia.
  • An incision is made to open up the flap.
  • The bone covering the tooth is cut to expose the tooth crown.
  • The tooth is removed either in whole or by cutting it into pieces and removing the pieces out.
  • Surgical wound is sutured.
  • Removal of the stitch after a week.

Risks and Complications

Complications or risks associated with surgical removal include pain, swelling, infection, and bleeding.

Post-operative Instructions

  • Use ice pack covered in a towel and place it on operated area from the outside (on the cheek) to reduce swelling.
  • Bite down onto a clean gauze piece with pressure to stop bleeding.
  • Eat soft food and drink lots of liquids.
  • Brush your teeth gently in the area during the first few days after the surgery.
  • Take prescribed medications and follow all instructions given from your surgeon.
  • South African Dental Association
  • University of Pretoria
  • Health Professions Council of South Africa
  • South African Academy of Aesthetic Dentistry
  • University of the Western Cape
  • Stellen Bosch University
  • South African Medical Association