Wisdom Teeth Overview

While many people will have no trouble with their wisdom teeth, these teeth are often removed to prevent more serious issues like abscesses. These teeth generally begin to surface in the late teens to early 20s, and many times, they become impacted as they develop, growing sideways into the other teeth or angled forward.

Wisdom teeth may erupt from the gum line or may still be set in the jaw. Teeth that are only partially erupted may present other issues as these teeth are difficult to clean and care for.

Oral surgeons typically handle extractions on an outpatient basis. Most of the time we recommend them as a preventative measure, to safeguard the mouth against changes in tooth alignment.


Complications may include dry sockets, nerve injuries, and damage to prior dental work. Though it’s rare, there may also be damage to the surrounding teeth or gums.

If you suspect you’re suffering from a complication, you should contact your dentist right away.

When do we remove wisdom teeth?

  • When the teeth are impacted.
  • To prevent malocclusion.
  • When there are cysts, tumors or abscesses.
  • When the tooth has partially erupted.

Types of Oral Surgery

Oral surgery is typically performed when the patient is young because the roots have not yet been set in the jaw. Once the teeth are anchored, extraction becomes more difficult and requires a longer recovery time.

Simple Extraction

During a simple extraction, the dentist or surgeon will apply a local anesthetic. This will numb the area but will not render the patient unconscious. We then lift the tooth and use forceps to remove it from the mouth.

We move slowly to ensure the tooth doesn’t break.

We use this procedure when your wisdom tooth has already erupted.

Surgical Extraction

During a surgical extraction, the dentist may administer an IV anesthetic, which will render the patient relaxed but conscious. The surgeon will then make an incision to facilitate removal.

Often, the tooth will be sectioned to ease the extraction. This type of procedure is done for those whose teeth have not yet erupted or who have complications like large or curved roots.