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Wisdom Tooth Extraction/Surgery

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Wisdom Tooth Extraction/Surgery

Wisdom Tooth Extraction In Singapore

Wisdom teeth are also known as the third molars. While some wisdom teeth may erupt properly into the mouth and cause no issues, oftentimes they are found impacted (obstructed) or associated with dental problems such as dental decay, periodontal disease (gum disease) and pericoronitis (swelling and infection of the gums). When a wisdom tooth starts to cause dental problems, you may require a wisdom tooth extraction.

Difference Between A Wisdom Tooth Extraction And The Extraction Of Any Other Tooth?

Wisdom tooth extraction can be very similar or even the same as the extraction of any other tooth in the mouth. However, it depends on the position of the wisdom tooth and its proximity to important structures in the mouth (e.g. nerves, sinus, other teeth, etc).

While not always the case, wisdom teeth are frequently found impacted in the rear of the mouth or emerge at an unusual angle. Consequently, they may be partially or fully embedded in the jawbone. Depending on the individual case, a wisdom tooth may then sometimes require a small surgery to be removed safely. This means that the dentist or specialist oral surgeon may need to make a small cut in the gums and remove bone around the wisdom tooth to safely extract it. Stitches will then be placed to close the gums and left to heal. While many cases of wisdom tooth removal can be performed by a general dentist, complex cases may necessitate the expertise of a specialist oral surgeon or oral maxillofacial surgeon.

How Do I Know if I Need To Have My Wisdom Teeth Extracted?

  • Pain or discomfort – Pericoronitis sometimes develops around wisdom teeth. Pericoronitis is a swelling and infection of the gums. This can cause pain, pus and difficulty opening, speaking and eating. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your gums at the back of your mouth caused by a wisdom tooth, it may be advisable to have it removed.
  • Difficult oral hygiene contributing to dental decay – Due to their location at the back of the mouth, wisdom teeth can be difficult to clean and develop dental decay. If there is decay on a wisdom tooth, it may be advisable to have the wisdom tooth removed. 
  • Difficult oral hygiene contributing to gum disease –  The difficulty of cleaning around a wisdom tooth can lead to gum disease developing around the wisdom tooth over time. This may result in gum inflammation, bone loss and discomfort around a wisdom tooth. If this occurs, your dentist might recommend a wisdom tooth extraction. 
  • Damage to adjacent teeth – Impacted wisdom teeth growing at an unusual angle can make it difficult to clean and maintain adjacent teeth. This may result in teeth adjacent to a wisdom tooth becoming decayed or developing gum disease and bone loss. Wisdom tooth extraction may help to prevent such complications.
  • Presence of cysts or tumours – In rare cases, your wisdom tooth might become associated with a cyst or tumour. In such cases, your wisdom teeth may require removal to treat the cyst or tumour.

Procedure

Your dentist will first evaluate your wisdom teeth to determine if you will benefit from a wisdom tooth extraction. Dental x-rays are needed to assess a wisdom tooth, especially if the tooth is impacted (obstructed) or unerupted. Information from these x-rays will help your dentist to ascertain the complexity of a wisdom tooth extraction procedure. They will also help your dentist to determine if a standard wisdom tooth extraction (non-surgical) can be carried out, or if a wisdom tooth surgery needs to be performed instead. This careful diagnosis and planning is crucial to ensure the success and safety of the procedure, and to minimise any potential complications.

Before the procedure, local anaesthesia will be gently administered to numb the area around the wisdom tooth that will be removed. For a standard wisdom tooth extraction (non-surgical), the dentist will carefully loosen the tooth before removing the whole tooth intact. Where a wisdom tooth surgery is indicated, the dentist or specialist oral surgeon will make a small cut in the gums and remove bone around the wisdom tooth. Sometimes, the wisdom tooth may also have to be sectioned (cut into a few pieces) to allow it to be extracted completely and safely.

It is not uncommon for one to be anxious or nervous before a wisdom tooth extraction. Sedation through medication and laughing gas or general anaesthesia may be an option for you if you suffer from dental phobia or anxiety.

Frequently Asked Questions

Not all wisdom teeth require surgical removal. Some wisdom teeth can be extracted as a standard tooth extraction without any surgery. Whether a wisdom tooth surgery is required depends on the condition of the wisdom tooth, the location and the angulation of the tooth. Your dentist will evaluate your wisdom tooth carefully to determine if a surgery is required.

The cost of wisdom tooth surgery depends on the complexity of the procedure. If you are a Singaporean or Singapore Permanent Resident, MediSave claim can be used to offset or cover the cost of wisdom tooth surgery.

The recovery period varies for each individual, but it generally takes about a week to fully recover from a wisdom tooth extraction. Following your dentist’s post-operative instructions, such as maintaining good oral hygiene and avoiding smoking and vaping can help to speed up the healing process and to prevent any complications (e.g. infection) from arising. Most pain and discomfort during the first few days after an extraction can be relieved through pain medication that your dentist will prescribe you.

It is recommended to stick to a soft diet for the first few days after the procedure as softer foods may be more comfortable for you to consume. Cold foods and drinks can be soothing as the site heals, while hot and spicy foods may sometimes be irritating around the extraction site. 

Avoid using a straw and disturbing the extraction site. It is essential to follow your dentist’s instructions for a smooth recovery and to avoid any disruption to the healing process. Good oral hygiene (including gentle brushing around the extraction site) and avoidance of smoking and vaping can help to speed up the healing process and to avoid potential complications.

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