Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth also referred to as third molars are the last teeth to develop and erupt in the upper and lower jaw. In general wisdom teeth begin to erupt between the ages of 17 to 25. Wisdom teeth do not have to be removed if they erupt properly, gum tissue around them is healthy and good oral hygiene is practiced. Unfortunately, this does not generally happen. The extraction of wisdom teeth is recommended when they are prevented from properly erupting within the mouth. They may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum and even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. Impacted teeth can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to successfully erupt.

These poorly positioned impacted teeth can cause many problems. When they are partially erupted bacteria can grow around them and can eventually cause an infection. Symptoms would include swelling, stiffness, pain and illness. The pressure from the erupting wisdom teeth may move other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth. Impacted or poorly positioned wisdom teeth can also lead to development of gum disease in the molar areas which can be a lingering problem even after the wisdom teeth are removed, this can be mitigated by early evaluation and removal. The most serious problems occur when tumors or cysts form around impacted wisdom teeth, resulting in the destruction of the jawbone and healthy teeth. Removal of these problematic impacted teeth usually resolves these problems. When indicated removing wisdom teeth is recommended as a preventive measure to avoid future problems.

With an oral examination and dental x-rays, our doctors can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth, diagnose present problems, or advise of the potential for future problems. Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a superior outcome for patients. Patients are generally first evaluated in the teenage years by their dentist, orthodontist or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize patient comfort. Our doctors have the training, license and experience to provide various types of anesthesia for maximum patient comfort.

What can I expect from oral surgery?

Having wisdom teeth removed is most commonly an outpatient procedure. Patients will receive anesthetic and sedative medication to ensure that they are comfortable and relaxed throughout the procedure.

After surgery, a diet of liquid and soft foods is necessary for a few days and patients will be given information on how to alleviate swelling and any post-operative discomfort.

Wisdom Teeth Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of wisdom teeth, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to wisdom teeth are discussed.

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