The most common form of oral surgery is the extraction of the wisdom teeth. The wisdom teeth may need to be removed if there is not sufficient space for them to erupt properly or there is risk of damage to neighbouring teeth. If there is not sufficient room for the teeth to erupt they will become impacted. This means that they will begin to force the neighbouring teeth out of line and in some cases can cause pain and discomfort for the patient.
There are two types of impaction, complete and partial.
Complete bone impaction means that the teeth are covered by bone and cannot erupt. If left untreated it can lead to complications and possible jaw bone damage.
Partial bone impaction refers to part of the tooth erupting, usually the crown. A partial eruption can increase the risk of gum disease, tooth decay in neighbouring teeth and infection in the flap of tissue that covers the non-erupted section of tooth.
In most cases patients will prefer to be sedated during the treatment, however it can be done under local anaesthetic. There will be a degree of discomfort felt for a number of days after the treatment but over the counter pain relief will be able to control this. Swelling is common, and if all four wisdom teeth are extracted at the same time, you may experience swelling of the gums and tissues on the mouth. This usually subsides in a number of days to a week.
On average it will take about just under an hour to remove upper impacted wisdom teeth and just over an hour to remove lower teeth. However this is only an estimate and actual times can vary depending on the patient’s specific situation.
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