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How Do I Get My Wisdom Teeth Removed in Salt Lake City?

To learn more about wisdom tooth removal, or if you have any additional questions, we’re glad to help you. Call us at the Salt Lake Dental Clinic to schedule your dentist appointment with Dr. Scott Elder today. Our office can be reached at (801) 278-7100. Schedule your wisdom tooth consultation to understand more about the procedure, including cost and recovery.

Should I See A Dentist Or Oral Surgeon For Wisdom Tooth Removal?

Your first visit should be to your dentist who will perform the necessary X-Rays and assess whether your wisdom teeth are impacted, whether you will need sedation or general anesthesia, and look at the condition of your jawbones. 

During this assessment, you will discuss the risks and benefits of surgery if necessary and Dr. Elder will let you know if he can remove the wisdom tooth using only local anesthetic. 

If your case needs general or sedation anesthesia, Dr. Elder can provide you with a referral to a trusted oral surgeon within his network with whom he can coordinate your oral care. 

Did you know that wisdom teeth need to be removed because our jaws are simply not large enough to accommodate them?

Many people have impacted wisdom teeth that cause a great deal of pain, while others erupt much like your back molars. While removal of some wisdom teeth requires the services of an oral surgeon, many can be removed by Dr. Scott Elder in his office if you don’t require sedation or general anesthesia.

The Salt Lake Dental Clinic is committed to providing you with total oral care. This includes wisdom tooth removal and cosmetic procedures in addition to traditional dentist services such as cleanings, X-rays, fillings, and extractions. Dr. Scott Elder provides wisdom tooth removal for patients who do not need to undergo sedation or general anesthesia.

If you have any questions regarding wisdom tooth removal, schedule a consultation with Dr. Elder or call us at (801)278-7100.

Here are a few answers to questions you may have about your wisdom teeth and the services Dr. Elder provides.


What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are called the third molars and are the last adult teeth that erupt. Most adults have four wisdom teeth, two on the top and two on the bottom and they emerge around ages 17-25. 

Because our jaws simply aren’t large enough to accommodate these larger teeth, they sometimes become impacted which means they don’t erupt from the gum. And if they do erupt, they squeeze the other teeth, causing misalignment and pain.

So why do we have wisdom teeth?

There are many theories as to why some people have these unnecessary teeth. One theory is evolutionary, that our ancestors had larger jaws. Another theory is that with the advent of farming and a modern diet of processed foods, our jaws don’t develop as well as they used to during adolescence. 

Not everyone has wisdom teeth. Between 5-37% of people don’t have one or more of their wisdom teeth according to the Dental Research Journal. It’s genetic. If one or both of your parents don’t have wisdom teeth, you may not either. 


Do Wisdom Teeth Need To Be Removed and Why?

The answer to this question is, it’s complicated.

It used to be that everyone had their wisdom teeth removed no matter what in order to avoid complications later. Wisdom teeth are notorious culprits for causing gum disease, infections, pain, tooth shifting, and tooth decay. 

You will need your wisdom teeth removed if:

  • You experience tooth pain
  • Swelling and redness in your gums (though this could simply be the tooth erupting)
  • You have an impacted tooth or cyst in the back of your mouth
  • There is an oral infection
  • Cavities are on the third molar
  • Your teeth shift or become misaligned

Impacted and problematic wisdom teeth should be removed, no doubt about it. But what about wisdom teeth that come in normally and don’t cause any issues at all. Should you have those removed?


You will need a comprehensive assessment including X-Rays, and Dr. Elder can provide you with a recommendation based upon the likelihood that your wisdom teeth might create problems for you down the road. If you don’t need immediate wisdom tooth removal, Dr. Elder will monitor your situation carefully during future visits.

Keep in mind though that wisdom tooth removal later in life is often much more difficult than in your early twenties.


What Happens When A Wisdom Tooth Is Impacted?

A wisdom tooth that becomes stuck under the gum or partially erupts is considered impacted. It is considered fully impacted when it doesn’t erupt at all and remains “trapped.”

Impacted wisdom teeth may grow at angles towards the back or the front of the mouth, or might grow at a right angle in the jawbone. Some grow straight up and down but never leave the jaw bone. 

When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it needs to be removed because it often causes severe pain in the jaw and the gum. An impacted tooth can also become infected.


What To Expect During Wisdom Tooth Removal

For surgical removal of your wisdom teeth that requires general or sedation anesthesia, discuss the expectations, risks, and your specific requirements with your oral surgeon.

If you are having your wisdom tooth removed with local anesthetic in Dr. Elder’s office, here’s what you can expect. 

  • A local anesthetic will be injected into the gum and tissue around the tooth
  • If the tooth is still impacted, a small incision may be made in the gum to give access
  • The tooth may be broken into smaller pieces for removal
  • The tooth may be rocked back and forth to widen the socket and you may feel some pressure
  • If you had an incision, dissolving stitches will be placed
  • You will be asked to bite down on gauze for about an hour until a blood clot forms in the socket
  • You may be prescribed antibiotics to prevent or heal an infection
  • You will receive aftercare instructions


Wisdom Tooth Extraction Aftercare

It’s very important to follow all instructions from your dentist or oral surgeon after wisdom tooth removal to avoid infection, dry socket, and to reduce the amount of pain you experience. Dry socket is when the blood clot is dislodged prematurely from the tooth socket and causes pain.

Here are the dos and don’ts of wisdom tooth removal. 


  • Take your pain medications and antibiotics as prescribed
  • Rest
  • Use ice packs on the sides where you had the extraction
  • Keep your mouth clean with gentle rinsing with a cup of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of salt 5 or six times a day


  • Exercise vigorously
  • Smoke
  • Drink from a straw
  • Rinse your mouth vigorously or brush over the surgical site. (Brushing your other teeth is okay.)




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Contact Us

(801) 278-7100

2040 Murray Holladay Rd., #208
Salt Lake City, UT 84117


Monday, 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, 7:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Thursday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Friday, Closed

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