Questions to ask your dentist or surgeon
Your dentist may perform the procedure in the office. However, if your tooth is deeply impacted or if the extraction is expected to be difficult, your dentist may suggest you see an oral surgeon. Questions you may want to ask your dentist or oral surgeon include:
- How many wisdom teeth need to be removed?
- Will I need local anesthesia (which numbs your mouth and jaw) or sedation anesthesia (which makes you unaware of the procedure)?
- How complicated do you expect the procedure to be?
- How long is the procedure likely to last?
- Have the impacted wisdom teeth caused damage to other teeth?
- Is there a risk that I might have nerve damage?
- What other dental treatments might I need at a later date?
- How long does it take to completely heal and return to normal activity?
Preparing for the surgery
A wisdom tooth extraction is almost always performed as an outpatient procedure. This means that you go home the same day.
You'll receive instructions from the hospital or dental clinic staff on what to do before the surgery and the day of your scheduled surgery. Ask these questions:
Apr. 11, 2012
- Will I need to make arrangements for someone to drive me home after the procedure?
- When do I need to arrive at the dental clinic or hospital?
- Do I need to avoid eating food, drinking fluids or both (fast)? If so, when do I begin?
- Can I take my prescription medications before the surgery? If so, how soon before the surgery can I take a dose?
- Should I avoid any nonprescription drugs before the surgery?
- Wisdom teeth. American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. http://www.aaoms.org/wisdom_teeth.php. Accessed Feb. 29, 2012.
- Marciani RD. Third molar removal: An overview of indications, imaging, evaluation, and assessment of risk. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Clinics of North America. 2007;19:1.
- Bagheri SC, et al. Extraction versus nonextraction management of third molars. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Clinics of North America. 2007;19:15.
- Haug RH, et al. Evidenced-based decision making: The third molar. Dental Clinics of North America. 2009;53:77.
- Tintinalli JE, et al. Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=6388295. Accessed Feb. 29, 2012.
- Kandasamy S, et al. The wisdom behind third molar extractions. Australian Dental Journal. 2009;54:284.
- Postextraction problems. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dental_disorders/dental_emergencies/postextraction_problems.html. Accessed Feb. 29, 2012.
- Farish SE, et al. General technique of third molar removal. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Clinics of North America. 2007;19:23.
- Carr AB (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 9, 2012.
- Mettes DTG, et al. Interventions for treating asymptomatic wisdom teeth in adolescents and adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD003879.pub2/abstract. Accessed March 22, 2012.