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Wisdom teeth; a guide from our general dentist

Do you have wisdom teeth? Worried that they need to be extracted?

Our general dentist for Whanganui New Zealand has helped many patients who have issues with their wisdom teeth and knows all too well how problematic they can be. So, if you have worries, call us!

In this article, we are going to look at the common causes behind wisdom tooth extraction and how our general dentist for Whanganui New Zealand performs this process. Enjoy!

What are wisdom teeth?

In short, wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt in the mouth, typically doing so between the ages of 11 and 17.

They are molars, and located in the corners of the mouth, with one in each corner.

Signs that they need extracting

The most common sign that wisdom teeth need to be extracted is discomfort in the back of the mouth, the jaw and when eating after these teeth have erupted or are coming through.

If you have noticed that your gums are bleeding around these teeth or there are abnormal swellings, this can also indicate that they need to be removed.

But for more information about whether your wisdom teeth need to be extracted, call our general dentist for Whanganui New Zealand for a check-up.

The process

Before we remove your wisdom teeth, we will take an x-ray to examine the roots.

If they are straight and not intertwined, then we may be able to perform a simple extraction; this is as it sounds, and involves us simply jiggling the tooth until it comes loose.

More commonly with wisdom teeth, however, the roots are often splayed at odd angles, locked around the roots of other teeth and there may even be more than expected (some wisdom teeth have been noted to have 6 roots!), which understandably complicates extraction. In cases like this, we will typically opt for a surgical extraction, which involves multiple incisions being made into the gums to remove the tooth or teeth.

Once we have removed your wisdom teeth, we may decide to stitch the gum back together to promote healing.


The aftercare of having wisdom teeth removed is not too different from having any other teeth removed.

You should avoid eating overly spicy foods, as this can irritate the gums and you should refrain from putting pressure on the area. You will need to keep the site clean and should aim to gargle saltwater as often as required and take caution brushing any surrounding teeth.

If you notice, however, that the gum around the extraction is swollen, unusually painful, changing colour or oozing pus, then you should call our team right away as you may have an infection. Yikes!

Dry socket

After a wisdom tooth extraction, you are also at higher risk of developing a very uncomfortable condition known as dry socket, due in part to the fact that wisdom teeth are often larger than regular molars. Dry socket is more common if you have had a simple extraction too and did not have stitches.

When you lose an adult tooth, a clot should form in the now open socket as a protective barrier. If it is disturbed by brushing, your tongue poking it or any other method, the clot can come loose, exposing the bone underneath before the socket has healed.

If you suspect that you have dry socket, please contact us promptly.


All treatment carries risks. Individual consultation is required with one of our practitioners to ensure that the treatment is right for you.


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