Wisdom Teeth

By the age of 18, the average adult has 32 teeth; 16 teeth on the top and 16 teeth on the bottom. Each tooth in the mouth has a specific name and function. The teeth in the front of the mouth (incisors, canine, and bicuspid teeth) are ideal for grasping and biting food into smaller pieces. The back teeth (molar teeth) are used to grind food up into a consistency suitable for swallowing.

The average mouth can acccomodate only 28 teeth. It can be painful or cause distortions in your bite when 32 teeth try to fit in a mouth that is large enough to fit only 28 teeth. These four other teeth are your third molars, also known as “wisdom teeth.”

Why Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt within the mouth, usually between the ages of 17 and 21. When they align properly and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth do not have to be removed.
Unfortunately, this does not generally happen. The extraction of wisdom teeth is necessary when they are prevented from properly erupting within the mouth into a functional bite with the opposing tooth from the opposite jaw. They may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum, and even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone causing damage to the roots of the adjacent teeth or contributing to bone defects or periodontal disease, all without causing pain. 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, the opening around the teeth allows bacteria to seep in and grow causing decay. This will eventually cause an infection in the gums. The result: swelling, stiffness, pain, and illness, at inconvenient, or momentous times without notice. (i.e. during final exams, the day of a wedding, during pregnancy or childbirth, or simply the day that you are supposed to leave the country for your annual vacation holiday). The pressure from the erupting wisdom teeth may move other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth.

The most serious problem occurs when tumors or cysts form around the impacted wisdom teeth, resulting in the destruction of the jawbone and healthy teeth. Removal of the offending impacted teeth usually prevents or resolves these problems. Early and scheduled removal, at your convenience is recommended to avoid such future problems and to decrease the surgical risk involved with removal of teeth when they have fully formed roots that are curved or closer to nerves and the sinsuses and in situations where the bone may be more dense or brittle.

Oral Examination

With an oral examination and radiographs (x-rays) of the mouth, one of our oral surgeons can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and make a reasonable assessment of current condition, or risk of future problems with them. Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment can result in a superior outcome for the patient. Patients are generally first evaluated either upon completion of their orthodontic treatment, or in the mid-teenage years by their dentist, orthodontist or by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize patient comfort. Our surgeons have the training, license and experience to recommend and provide the best type of anesthesia service for your individual condition.

Removal

In most cases, the removal of wisdom teeth is performed under local anesthesia, laughing gas (nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia) or general anesthesia/deep sedation. These options, as well as the associated surgical risks (i.e., sensory nerve damage, sinus complications), will be discussed with you during your consultation before the procedure is performed. Once the teeth are removed, the gum is sutured. You will rest under our supervision in the office until you are ready to be taken home.

Upon discharge, your postoperative kit will include: ice pack, postoperative instructions, and any necessary prescriptions for pain medication, antibiotics, or other medications. A follow-up appointment in one week is made for evaluation of healing and any suture removal, if necessary. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at 561-886-0288.

Our services are provided in an environment of optimum safety that utilizes modern monitoring equipment and staff who are experienced in anesthesia techniques.