Click Here for Mobile Version

About Our Services  

Wisdom Tooth Removal

Wisdom Teeth, also known as third molars, are the last teeth to erupt in your mouth. This generally occurs between the ages of 17 and 25, a time of life that has been called the "Age of Wisdom." Anthropologists note that the rough diet of early humans resulted in the excessive wear of their teeth. Normal drifting of the teeth to compensate for this wear ensured that space was available for most wisdom teeth to erupt by adolescence. The modern diet, which is much softer, and the popularity of orthodontic tooth straightening procedures produce a fuller dental arch, which quite commonly doesn't' leave room for the wisdom teeth to erupt, thereby setting the stage for problems when the final four molars enter the mouth.

What is an Impacted Tooth?

A tooth is termed impacted when there is a lack of space in the dental arch and its growth and eruption are prevented by overlying gum, bone or another tooth. A tooth may be partially impacted, which means a portion of it has broken through the gum, or totally impacted and unable to break through the gum at all.

How Serious is an impacted tooth?

Impacted and partially impacted teeth can be painful and lead to infection, gum disease, and bone loss. They may also crowd or damage adjacent teeth or roots. More serious problems may occur if the sac surrounding the impacted tooth becomes filled with fluid and enlarges to form a cyst. As the cyst grows it may hollow out the jaw and permanently damage adjacent teeth, the surrounding bone and nerves. Rarely, if a cyst is not treated, a tumor may develop from its walls and a more extensive surgical procedures may be required to remove it.

When Should I have my Wisdom teeth Removed?

It isn't wise to wait until your wisdom teeth start to bother you. In general, earlier removal of wisdom teeth results in a less complicated healing process. If excision of wisdom teeth is indicated, earlier removal can result in a less complicated healing process. The AAOMS/OMSF study strongly recommends that wisdom teeth be removed by the time the patient is a young adult in order to prevent future problems and to ensure optimal healing. The researchers found that older patients may be a greater risk for disease, including periodontitis, in the tissues surrounding the third molars and adjacent teeth. Periodontal infections, such as those observed in this study, may affect your general health.

Must the Tooth Come Out if it Hasn't Caused Any Problems Yet?

Not all wisdom teeth require removal. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will help you determine what is best for you. Not all problems related to third molars are painful or visible. Damage can occur without your being aware of it. As wisdom teeth grow, their roots become longer, the teeth become more difficult to remove and complications become more likely. In addition, partially or totally impacted wisdom teeth may cause problems as patients age.

What happens during Surgery?

Before surgery, your Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon will discuss with you what to expect. This is a good time to ask questions or express your concerns. It is especially important to let the doctor know about any illnesses you have and medications you are taking. Most wisdom tooth extractions are performed in the Oral and Maxillofacial surgery office under local anesthesia, intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. Your Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon will discuss the anesthetic option that is right for you.

What happens After Surgery?

Following surgery, you may experience some swelling and mild discomfort, which are part of the normal healing process. Cold compresses may help decrease the swelling, and medication prescribed by your Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon can help manage the discomfort.

Please follow your post-operative instructions closely, as they will help you to be most comfortable during the first few days after surgery. The majority of patients begin to feel improvement in 3-5 days. If deemed necessary by your doctor, a post-operative visit will be scheduled.