Dental Surgery

Tooth Extractions

Tooth Extraction and Wisdom Teeth Removal

The removal of teeth is can be done by either a dentist or oral surgeons (dentists specially trained in performing surgery). 

Initially your dentist will inject a local anaesthetic to help numb the area around the tooth that is going to be removed. A stronger general anaesthetic will be used if your tooth is impacted (stuck in gum tissue usually due to overcrowding) or if you are having more than one tooth removed. A general anaesthetic will make you sleep through the procedure.

In case the tooth is impacted, the gum and bone tissue covering the tooth will need to be cut away so that the dentist can grasp the tooth with forceps. This will allow the dentist to rock the tooth back and forth to loosen it. If the tooth is difficult to pull, it may need to be cut in to smaller pieces before it can be removed.

A gauze pad is packed in to the empty socket to help stop any bleeding. Sometimes dissolving stitches will be used to close gum edges over the site of extraction.


Wisdom teeth are the third-last permanent molars. Most people have four wisdom teeth, two in the upper jaw and two in the lower jaw. These teeth are commonly called wisdom teeth because they usually erupt between the ages of 16 to 21, known as the ‘age of wisdom’. A wisdom tooth is impacted when it is obstructed from erupting fully into the mouth by the tooth in front of it or the surrounding bone or gums.


Improperly erupted wisdom teeth are breeding grounds for bacteria and may cause tooth decay, sometimes even affecting the neighbouring teeth. Infection of the overlying gums can take place as well, resulting in pain and swelling.

More serious problems such as the formation of cysts or tumours around an impacted tooth can occur, leading to destruction of the surrounding jawbone and neighbouring teeth. These conditions may require complex and extensive treatment. As problems can develop silently, without your knowledge, a check-up with your dentist is thus advisable.


Your initial visit to the dentist would include an examination of your mouth and X-rays to determine the position of the wisdom teeth, their condition and the status of the adjacent teeth and bone. 

To prevent problems associated with impacted wisdom teeth, it is advisable to remove them early. The best time to remove them would be during the teenage years, before the roots of the teeth are fully formed and firmly embedded in the jawbone. Healing is also better during this period, with less risk of complications. 

This is a minor surgical procedure that can usually be performed with little discomfort. The procedure can be performed under local anaesthesia (with or without sedation to control anxiety) or general anaesthesia. Your surgeon will advise you on the type most appropriate for your needs.

The surgery involves uncovering the tooth by lifting the overlying gums aside to expose the tooth and bone. The tooth may need to be sectioned in order to remove it. The gums are then stitched back. 


After surgery, some minor bleeding from the wound can be expected, which can be controlled by biting on a piece of gauze over the operation area for about half an hour. Facial swelling and discolouration of the overlying skin will also develop, increasing for the first 72 hours and subsiding thereafter. You may not be able to open your mouth as wide as usual for a few days.

Painkillers, antibiotics and an antiseptic mouthwash are usually prescribed after the surgery. You will be advised to maintain good oral hygiene and also to keep to a soft diet for a few days following surgery.