Wisdom Teeth

Removal of third molars (wisdom teeth) is the reason most people first visit us. Currently, there is little or no current known function to wisdom teeth and due to their position in the mouth, they can be difficult to keep clean. Debris and bacteria can gather around wisdom teeth causing pain. Additionally, wisdom teeth are frequently blocked from entering the mouth because of lack of space — a condition known as impaction. More than 90% of the population has or has had at least one impacted tooth. Varying degrees of impaction in which teeth are completely or partially covered by bone and gums can cause multiple problems if not removed. Problems arising from impacted teeth include pain, infection, crowding of teeth, loss of bone and gums, damage to adjacent teeth or other structures, and can contribute to health problems. Cyst or tumors may arise from a developing wisdom requiring larger, more extensive surgery.

Recommendations and Treatment

A short consultation involving an oral and radiographic exam should be done to evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and potential issues. Your surgeon will explain the procedure and the recovery from wisdom teeth extraction as well as answer any questions you may have. Removal of wisdom teeth is an outpatient procedure routinely done in our office under general anesthesia. To perform surgery, your updated health history is required. Patients must not eat or drink for at least six hours prior to the procedure and need an adult escort for transportation to and from the surgery site.

Outcomes are good and complications are difficult to predict;however, the longer the wisdom teeth remain the more likely they are to cause problems. The best prevention is removal of wisdom teeth during the teen years while the roots are developing, which tends to create less discomfort and reduced healing time.

Learn more.

© 2006-2008 American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS). All rights reserved.

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