Wisdom Teeth and Tooth Extractions

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the last adult teeth to erupt in the mouth. Occasionally, they contribute positively to one’s oral health, but in most cases wisdom teeth are misaligned and require removal.

Problems which can occur with wisdom teeth eruption and thus necessitate removal include crowding of adjacent teeth, recurring infections, decay on adjacent teeth, and even development of cyst and subsequent weakening of the jawbone.

The presence and position of wisdom teeth is best diagnosed by your general dentist and/or oral surgeon with the aid of a panoramic x-ray. This type of x-ray permits the dentist and oral surgeon to properly evaluate the development and eruption of the wisdom teeth. In selective cases, the three-dimensional CT scan may be necessary to discern the proper position of the wisdom teeth in your jaw.

In order to safely and painlessly remove your wisdom teeth, Dr. Whitesides highly recommends all wisdom teeth extractions be done under general anesthesia. Once you are “asleep” a long-acting local anesthetic is administrated to provide up to 6 hours of pain relief after surgery. Since you will be under general anesthesia it is required you have nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before your surgery and a responsible adult to drive you to the office, stay there, and drive you home.

Most healthy young individuals recover from wisdom teeth removal without any significant problems. A few days of rest and following our instructions will go a long way toward an uneventful recovery. Common concerns related to your post-op recovery are covered in your post-op instructions. We will go over them in detail with your ride before your discharge.

Lastly, most dental and/or medical insurances will cover part or all of the fee for removal of the wisdom teeth. Please check with your policy to determine if wisdom teeth removal with anesthesia is a covered procedure of your policy and whether or not Dr. Whitesides participates in the insurance plan.


Teeth need to be extracted for a variety of reasons such as decay, failed root canal, periodontal disease, malposition, or to facilitate orthodontics.

Dr. Whitesides’ prefers patients come to our office for a consultation appointment before any surgery. At that appointment he will review your medical history and any medications in conjunction with an oral exam. Radiographs are always needed before any extraction. If you have them please bring them to the consultation appointment.

Dr. Whitesides prefers all patients to be under general anesthesia or deep sedation for their extractions. When patients are “asleep” he can be assured they will have a pain free experience. For selected cases extractions with nitrous oxide and local anesthesia will suffice.

After the extraction you or your ride will be given an appropriate pain relief medication and instructions. In rare cases an antibiotic will also be prescribed.