Articles, information and frequently asked questions about oral surgery

Wisdom Tooth Removal

Wisdom teeth are another name for any one of four third molars found in the permanent dentition. These teeth are normally the last or most posterior teeth in the dental arch to erupt. Although most people have wisdom teeth, it is possible for some or all of the third molars to never develop. In many people the wisdom teeth aren’t visible because they have become impacted (not normally erupted through the gums) under the gum.

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon or your dentist can remove (or extract) a wisdom tooth. The procedure often can be done in the dentist’s practice without any need to go to a hospital. You may have the surgery in the hospital, especially if you are having all your wisdom teeth extracted at one time or if you are at high risk for complications.

If you have any infections, surgery will usually be delayed until the infection has cleared up. Your dentist may have you take antibiotics to help heal the infection.

Before removing a wisdom tooth, your dentist will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed. A general anesthetic may be used, especially if several or all of your wisdom teeth will be removed at the same time. A general anesthetic prevents pain in the whole body and will cause you to sleep through the procedure. Your dentist will probably recommend that you don’t eat or drink after midnight on the night before surgery so that you are prepared for the anesthetic.

NICE guidlines suggest that:

Only patients who have diseased wisdom teeth, or other problems with their mouth, should have their wisdom teeth removed. Your dentist or oral surgeon will be aware of the sort of disease or condition which would require you to have surgery. Examples include untreatable tooth decay, abscesses, cysts or tumours, disease of the tissues around the tooth or where the tooth is in the way of other surgery.

Reasons for removal of wisdom teeth according to a dentist in Colchester

  1. The most common reason is recurrent infection of the gum overlying tooth that is partway through the gum (pericoronitis).
  2. Decay (caries) in the wisdom tooth which dentist cannot restore.
  3. Infection of the tooth (abscess) due to tooth decay.
  4. When the adjacent molar tooth is affected by the gum (periodontal) disease or dental decay due to the impacted wisdom tooth.
  5. Progressive cystic (fluid filled sac) formation around the tooth.
  6. As part of other surgical procedures involving the jaw.
  7. There may be other less common reasons that your surgeon will discuss with you.


The decision to remove wisdom teeth isn’t always clear. Talk to your dentist or an oral surgeon about the position and health of your wisdom teeth and what’s best for your situation.

Here’s a video that shows the Wisdom Tooth Removal procedure – don’t worry, this is just an animation .