WISDOM TOOTH SURGERY VS WISDOM TOOTH EXTRACTION
26 January 2024
The prospect of having your wisdom teeth removed can seem daunting and scary. But did you know that over five million people have their wisdom teeth removed each year? It is, in fact, one of the most commonly performed dental procedures worldwide and is carried out to preserve oral health. Wisdom tooth removal can also prevent a number of potential complications, ranging from pain and impaction to infection and overcrowding. When it comes to wisdom tooth removal, there are two types: wisdom tooth extraction and wisdom tooth surgery. But what is the difference between the two and when would these procedures be needed? Read on to find out more!
WHAT ARE WISDOM TEETH AND SHOULD THEY BE REMOVED?
Wisdom teeth (third molars) are the final set of molars that erupt at the very back of the mouth and usually come through during your late teens or early 20s, causing a number of issues. However, not everyone has wisdom teeth, and not all wisdom teeth cause problems or need removal. Complications, however, can develop when there isn’t sufficient space in your jaw, forcing the tooth to erupt in the wrong direction.
When misaligned, your wisdom tooth may appear horizontally, be inclined towards or away from the second molars, or be angled inward or outward. This misalignment can cause overcrowding or damage adjacent teeth and nerves, resulting in pain. Your third molars may also get partially or completely stuck in the gums or jawbone, which is referred to as wisdom tooth impaction.
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause plaque build-up, as they can be difficult to clean. This can put individuals at risk of many dental health problems, including infection, cavities, and gum disease. Wisdom teeth may also press upon the nerves that provide all the feeling in your face, resulting in a lot of pain and even severe headaches. This is why many dentists recommend removing your wisdom teeth even before they become problematic.
Here are some other factors that may require you to undergo wisdom tooth removal:
- Teeth misalignment issues
- Pain, irritation, or sinus issues
- Jaw and nerve damage
- Swollen and inflamed gums
- Sore jaw
- Formation of dental cysts (around the impacted teeth)
Wisdom teeth removal is easier to perform during young adulthood as the roots of these teeth are still developing. The longer you wait, the tougher it becomes to remove because, as you age, your roots become stronger, and your jaw becomes harder and denser.
Some may even advise you to get your wisdom teeth removed in pairs. For instance, if the wisdom teeth in your lower jaw hurt, your dentist may want to extract your upper wisdom teeth as well. This is usually done due to the following reasons:
- Bite disruption: The uneven nature of your teeth can lead to tooth decay or gum disease.
- Drifting: Your upper wisdom teeth may drift into your lower space.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WISDOM TOOTH EXTRACTION AND WISDOM TOOTH SURGERY?
If your wisdom tooth has erupted fully, your dentist will remove it through a simple dental extraction. Wisdom tooth surgery, on the other hand, is used for more complex cases, such as an impacted wisdom tooth.
As wisdom teeth extractions are less invasive, they can be performed under local anaesthesia, while wisdom tooth surgery is carried out under local anaesthesia or under sedation; general anaesthesia is used for more complex cases. At Neo Smiles, we provide both local anaesthesia and sedation, and can refer patients to the associated hospitals for general anaesthesia treatments.
Can Wisdom Tooth Extraction and Wisdom Tooth Surgery Be Claimed Through Medisave?
Although Medisave does not cover wisdom tooth extractions, you may use CHAS subsidies to reimburse your tooth extraction expenses. Medisave can be utilised for wisdom tooth surgeries in Singapore.
HOW TO CHOOSE BETWEEN A GENERAL DENTIST OR AN ORAL MAXILLOFACIAL SPECIALIST FOR YOUR WISDOM TOOTH SURGERY?
Dentistry is a vast discipline that focuses on the treatment and prevention of a range of different dental conditions. When it comes to oral health care, there are several types of dental providers who can help you keep your teeth in optimal condition. But who should you turn to for your wisdom tooth surgery? A general dentist or an oral maxillofacial surgeon (oral surgeon)? In order to make a well-informed decision, you need to understand the differences between the two.
A general dentist is a primary dental care provider who diagnoses, treats, and manages your overall oral health and may perform routine oral health examinations and other procedures that are both restorative and preventive. On the other hand, oral and maxillofacial surgeons need to undergo a three-year post-graduate programme with hands-on surgical training at hospitals and institutions, as well as undergo extensive accreditation requirements by the Ministry of Health, in order to be certified as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon specialist.
Oral surgeons specialise in the treatment of various disorders and diseases in the mouth, jaw, and face and are certified to perform surgeries on these parts of the body. Furthermore, an oral surgeon can also treat facial deformities, dental abnormalities, and other complex issues.
While a general dentist can remove your wisdom tooth, an oral surgeon might be more suitable due to the following factors:
- Health issues: If your wisdom tooth is impacted or you have an underlying issue like diabetes, an oral surgeon might be more suitable to handle such situations.
- Complications: As with any other surgical procedure, wisdom tooth surgery might be associated with certain risks and complications, making an oral surgeon the ideal professional to manage them.
- Expertise: While some dentists may perform extractions, some may not perform them at all. In contrast to this, oral and maxillofacial specialists routinely carry out wisdom teeth removals and have the expertise to treat even the most complex cases.
Are you conflicted over which dental professional should remove your wisdom tooth? Want to know if wisdom tooth extraction or surgery is the more suitable option for you? Contact our team at Neo Smiles Dental Studios today and find the right solution for all your dental queries and concerns. We would be more than happy to guide you!