Practitioner Referral Forms

Removal of Wisdom Teeth

Why remove them?

The main reasons for removing wisdom teeth are infection, decay, food-trapping, cyst formation, to assist orthodontics, to avoid likely future problems, to avoid more difficult tooth removal when older.

How are they removed?

Wisdom teeth can be removed while you are awake (local anaesthesia/dental injections), sedated (oral or intravenous sedation and local anaesthesia) or asleep (general anaesthesia). The choice depends on the anticipated difficulty of the surgery and also how you would prefer it done.

Surgery usually involves raising gum flaps to gain access to the bone which surrounds the tooth. Some of this bone may be removed. The tooth is usually divided up to allow it to be removed in parts. The socket is washed out and the gum closed with dissolving stitches.

Upper wisdom teeth are usually easier to remove than lower wisdom teeth.

What to expect after:

  • Discomfort. Pain-relieving medication is effective and will be required for 5-7 days after surgery.
  • Swelling and limited mouth opening. Most obvious 2-3 days after surgery. The majority settles in 4-5 days.
  • Bruising. May occur and last for 1-2 weeks.
  • Tiredness after general anaesthesia. May be noticeable for several days.
  • Nausea or vomiting. May occur but is unusual.
  • Weakness of the jaw. For several weeks after.

Some of the risks involved:

Numbness of the lip, chin or tongue can occur due to the close proximity of two nerves - This affects about 3% of people having lower wisdom teeth removed and is usually temporary lasting days or weeks. Permanent numbness occurs in much less than 1%. Problems that can result from permanent numbness include lip-biting, reduced awareness of food on the lip, tongue-biting, altered taste, and possibly, altered speech. All patients will experience numbness in the first 24 hrs after surgery due to the local anaesthetic injections given at time of the procedure.

Dry socket - This occurs in up to 10% of people having lower wisdom teeth removed. The blood clot dissolves a few days after surgery leaving the socket empty (‘dry’) and painful. Normally easily treated. Can be associated with smoking. 

Root fragments may need to be left in the tooth socket(s) - If the risk of removing them outweighs the benefit. Normal healing can still be expected. 

Infection - Uncommon.

Excessive bleeding - Uncommon.

Jaw joint problems - Uncommon.

Sinus problems - Rare.

Removal of wisdom teeth is routine in most cases. Usually you are able to return to work 5-7 days after surgery. A follow-up appointment is unnecessary for most people.

Please contact us if you have any questions or are unsure about any of the information provided.
Phone: +64 9 369 5566,
Fax: +64 9 369 5570
Address: Ground Floor, Quay Park Health, 68 Beach Road,
Auckland Central
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Friday 8.00am – 4.30pm