Wisdom Teeth

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

By the age of eighteen, 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, or molar teeth, are used to grind food up into a consistency suitable for swallowing.
The average mouth is made to hold only 28 teeth. It can be painful when 32 teeth try to fit in a mouth that holds only 28 teeth. These four other teeth are your Third Molars, also known as “wisdom teeth.”

Why Should I Remove My Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt in the mouth. When they align properly and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth do not need to be removed. Unfortunately, this does not generally happen. The removal of wisdom teeth is necessary when they are not able to erupt properly within the mouth. They may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gums or remain trapped beneath the gums.
When these teeth are poorly positioned, they can cause problems. This can include infection, swelling, stiffness, pain and even illness. Long term complications include cavities on the wisdom tooth or the adjacent teeth, gum disease (gingivitis) and bone disease (periodontitis). 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. Early removal is recommended to avoid these problems and to decrease the surgical risk involved with the procedure. 

Oral Examination

With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, J. Bryan Garrett, DDS, MD, Garrett D. Blundell, DDS, MD, Chad C. Hanley, DDS, and Brandon C. Clyburn, DDS can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there may be present or future problems. Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a superior outcome for the patient. Patients are generally first evaluated 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. J. Bryan Garrett, DDS, MD, Garrett D. Blundell, DDS, MD, Chad C. Hanley, DDS, and Brandon C. Clyburn, DDS have the training, license and experience to provide various types of anesthesia for patients to select the best alternative.

Wisdom Tooth Removal

In most cases, the removal of wisdom teeth is performed under local anesthesia, laughing gas (nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia), or general anesthesia. These options, as well as the surgical risks (i.e. sensory nerve damage, sinus complications), will be discussed with you 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. Before you leave, you will be given a post-operative kit with post-op instructions as well as instructions on picking up your post-procedure prescription. We will schedule you for a one week follow-up appointment. 

Wisdom Tooth Consultation

Our oral surgeons will examine the wisdom teeth with x-rays of the mouth and an oral examination. They can predict if there may be present or future problems. They will determine, discuss and plan appropriate treatment for each individual case. Patients are generally evaluated by a dentist or orthodontist in the mid-teenage years, but if an evaluation has never been done, it may be a good idea to schedule an appointment with an oral surgeon.