Oral & Maxillifacial FAQs
How are wisdom teeth removed?
Oral surgery is performed either under local anaesthesia alone, (dental injections), local anaesthesia with intravenous sedation (IV or twilight sleep), or local anaesthesia with general anaesthesia (GA).
Surgery usually involves raising gum flaps to gain access to the bone which surrounds the tooth.
Some of this bone is removed with a drill (similar to the type used for dental fillings). The tooth is
usually divided up to allow it to be removed in parts. The socket is washed out and the gum is closed with dissolving stitches.
Upper wisdom teeth are often easier to remove than lower wisdom teeth.
Risks of removing wisdom teeth?
There are some risks in removing wisdom teeth. For this reason, it is best to have surgery with someone experienced in the removal of wisdom teeth and that is why you will have received a specialist referral to vit one of our oral & maxillofacial surgeons. You will hear more about these risks at your consultation, but they are summarised below.
- All patients will experience numbness in the first 24 hours after surgery, due to the local anaesthetic injections given at time of dental procedure.
- Infection is uncommon. Antibiotics and mouthwash are routinely given to try and prevent this outcome.
- Tingling or numbness of the lip, chin or tongue due to the proximity of two nerves occurs in less than 1 percent of patients after removal of lower wisdom teeth. Usually this is temporary, lasting days or weeks. Problems that can result from permanent tingling or numbness include lip-biting, reduced ability to feel food on lip, tongue-biting, altered taste and possibly alteration to speech.
- Excessive bleeding. This is very uncommon.
- Dry socket. Occurs after less than 10% of lower wisdom tooth removals. The blood clot falls out early causing the socket to become dry and painful. Occurs a few days after pulling out wisdom teeth. Normally this is easily treated. Please return to the surgery.
- Jaw joint problems. Uncommon and usually last a few weeks.
Are treatments covered by insurance?
Many treatments may be covered by your medical insurance. Dr Peter Hill at Westlake Dental Specialists is an Affiliated Provider with Southern Cross Healthcare, New Zealand’s biggest private health insurer.
For patients receiving treatment in our rooms in Westlake, prior approval and contract surgical fees can be claimed by us via Southern Cross’ Provider Web. For general anaesthesia procedures and for insurance providers other than Southern Cross Healthcare, prior approval is usually required and our friendly staff can give you advice and information at your consultation.