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Wisdom Tooth Removal

Impacted Wisdom Tooth
Infected Wisdom Tooth
Abscessed Wisdom Tooth
The removal of third molars, also known as wisdom teeth, is one of the most common procedures performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. They are the reason most people first visit an oral surgeon.

Wisdom teeth or third molars are usually blocked from entering the mouth because of lack of space. This is referred to as impacted and can cause multiple problems if not removed. There are varying degrees of impaction in which teeth are completely or partially covered by bone and gums. Greater than 90% of the population has or has had at least one impacted tooth.

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 third molar requiring larger, more extensive surgery.

Third molar teeth do not need to be impacted to create problems. There is usually little or no function to wisdom teeth and due to their position in the mouth, can be difficult to keep clean. Without complete eruption of wisdom teeth and healthy gums surrounding them, pockets collecting debris and bacteria increase the chance for infection. Pain is a common complaint during eruption and can be severe. Complications are difficult to predict; 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.



Complete Bony

A short consultation involving an oral and radiographic exam should be done to evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and potential problems. Your surgeon will explain the procedure and the recovery from wisdom teeth extraction as well as answer any questions you may have.

When Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom teeth are easier to remove when the patient is younger, since their roots are not completely formed, the surrounding bone is softer, and there is less chance of damaging nearby nerves or other structures. Pictured here is growth at 12 and 14 years.

Removal of wisdom teeth at a later age becomes more complicated as the roots have fully developed (may involve the nerve), and the jawbone is denser. Observe the growth at 17 and 25 years in the diagrams to the right.

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.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 at 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.

Removal of wisdom teeth is an outpatient procedure routinely done in our office under intravenous anesthesia. To perform general sedation, an 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. If a consultation is desired, please contact us.


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