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The third set of molars, also called wisdom teeth, generally appear between the ages of 12-25 years old. Wisdom teeth removal is one of the most common types of oral surgery because they often cause crowding of existing teeth or erupt at an angle.

Our oral surgeons and dentists at Great Lakes Family Dental will evaluate your wisdom teeth, the tooth position, and determine if surgical removal is warranted. Not all wisdom teeth need to be surgically removed or extracted; some grow in normally.

If your wisdom teeth are hurting, or you’re noticing tenderness, schedule an appointment today for a  consultation.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Wisdom teeth are set in the far back of the gum line on both the upper and lower jaw and are the last of the teeth to grow. Every tooth has a number. Number 1, 16, 17, and 32 are your wisdom teeth (third set of molars). Once the wisdom tooth tries to erupt (grow in) through the gum tissue, the tooth often presses against existing teeth and can cause a great deal of pain or other dental issues, sometimes even causing pain in your ear.

When Is Wisdom Teeth Extraction Necessary?

While not everyone will need their wisdom teeth removed, it is a common procedure. However, the earlier that a need for extracting wisdom teeth is detected, the less impact it will have on surrounding teeth, bone and gum tissue, and nerves and blood vessels.

This is a general list of common reasons your wisdom teeth may need to be extracted:

  • Impacted wisdom teeth (stuck under the gums)
  • Wisdom teeth crowd surrounding teeth and change bite alignment
  • Wisdom teeth that come in at an angle and put pressure on surrounding teeth
  • Gum disease and cavities in the wisdom teeth

Because of the location of the wisdom teeth, brushing and flossing can be difficult because of the lack of room in the mouth, ultimately decreasing good oral hygiene and increasing the chance of cavities and gum disease (periodontal disease). Schedule a Consultation Today.

What To Expect

Reasons for Wisdom Teeth Oral Surgery

While we do not need wisdom teeth, they can cause havoc and pain until we have them removed. Here are a few reasons when an oral surgery is needed to remove wisdom teeth.

Full or Partially Bony Impaction – In this case, the wisdom tooth is either fully stuck in the jaw or partially stuck. Surgery is generally needed.

Soft Tissue Impaction – The wisdom tooth is stuck under the gum and has not erupted.

Erupted Wisdom Tooth – There are times when the tooth has erupted or broken through the gum but has grown in at an angle.

Each of these situations can cause swelling, infection and pain. Untreated impacted wisdom teeth can permanently damage other teeth and bones. Not all pain associated with a wisdom tooth warrants surgical removal, however, the quicker you visit your dentist, the better.


When you feel discomfort or pain from your wisdom teeth, you should have an oral exam performed by your dentist to determine if the teeth need to be removed. During your visit at Great Lakes Family Dental, your dentist or oral surgeon will x-ray and examine your teeth to determine if you will need a simple extraction or oral surgery. During the consultation, you should discuss any medications you currently take and your medical history.

Wisdom Teeth Extraction vs. Oral surgery

Your wisdom tooth removal will either be what is called a simple extraction or oral surgery extraction. It will depend on whether your tooth has erupted the gums and is visible or if the tooth is impacted and still under the gum.

Simple Extraction - During a simple tooth extraction, the tooth is removed under local anesthesia.

Oral Surgery Extraction – During oral surgery, you may receive local, intravenous sedation or nitrous oxide to help keep you comfortable. To remove the tooth, the oral surgeon or dentist will make a small incision in the gum tissue to remove the tooth and place a gauze pad in the tooth socket after the extraction. This is an outpatient surgery.

Post-Operative Care

Like with any other tooth extraction, or dental surgical procedure, the gum may be tender and sore. You will leave our office with aftercare instructions to expedite the healing process and recovery. You may possibly receive pain medication and anti-inflammatory medications for swelling and any postoperative pain.

Healing time – each person is different, and there are a number of factors to consider, but typically, 2-4 days of healing is needed. Your dentist will explain the healing time based on your specific situation.

Stitches – if you had oral surgery, you will generally have a couple of dissolvable sutures. This type of stitch will dissolve on its own in a couple of days. You may have a bit of bleeding after the surgery, this is normal.

Hydrate – for the next 24-72 hours, you will need to take it easy and drink plenty of fluids. Avoid hot drinks for a few days after surgery. Do not sip through a straw as the sucking motion could dislodge the blood clot (dry socket) in the tooth socket and cause complications.

Swelling – Swelling in the jaw or cheek is normal and should subside within a few days. Applying an ice pack to the cheek or jaw can help swelling. You may have a bit of bleeding after the surgery, this is normal.

Eating – eat soft foods for a few days and avoid sharp or hard foods like nuts or chips.

Tobacco Use – avoid smoking or using tobacco products as it can cause a dry socket. A dry socket is an infection from the blood clot being dislodged, exposing the bone and nerves.

Mouth rinse – use warm salt-water multiple times a day and rinse your mouth to help eliminate bacteria. Avoid brushing teeth for at least 24 hours.

Paying for Wisdom Teeth Extraction

Most dental insurance plans will cover part or all of the cost of removing wisdom teeth. We accept many different dental insurance plans. If you do not have dental insurance, we offer a few affordable payment methods to help cover your dental needs. When you need affordable dentistry services you can trust, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I eat after a tooth extraction?

Depending on the type of sedation being administered, you may receive different instructions from your oral surgeon. Generally, it is recommended that you stop eating 8 hours before your scheduled surgery. Talk with your Great Lakes Family Dental oral surgeon prior to your surgery and closely follow any instruction they have given you.

Book an Appointment

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If your request is a dental emergency, or you would like to call and schedule your dental appointment, contact information for our offices can be found here: Great Lakes Family Dental Locations. New patient offer not valid for emergency appointments.