Having your wisdom teeth, or third molars, removed is often done more as a preventive step. They are known to cause problems due to insufficient room and deep positioning. We often recommend their removal in young adulthood, while the root system is shorter and easier to pull. As the patient ages, the roots become longer and often form a hook shape, making surgery more complicated and recovery more painful. Our team at Henderson Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center is happy to evaluate the health and positioning of your wisdom teeth and then together discuss your options which may include oral surgery.
Why Should I Remove My Wisdom Teeth?
When wisdom teeth grow in, they can often cause overcrowding, tooth impactions, and other discomfort in our mouths. If not extracted, wisdom teeth can increase bacteria while making it more difficult to adequately clean teeth. Over time, this can cause infection, bone loss, or even gum disease.
One of the biggest complaints among people with wisdom teeth is discomfort. This can come from overcrowding, gum infection, and tooth impaction. Wisdom teeth removal can prevent current and future discomfort.
Keep Your Teeth Straight
If you’ve gone through the process of having braces, you’ve had to work hard to get your teeth straight. If wisdom teeth are allowed to fully grow in, they can cause overcrowding, and your perfectly straight teeth may become crooked once more.
When wisdom teeth are first emerging, they often grow in at an angle, which can cause impacted teeth. These small spaces are difficult to clean at home, causing bacteria to grow freely, sometimes causing infection or even gum disease.
Why Consult With An Oral Surgeon About Wisdom Teeth?
Having your wisdom teeth removed is one of the major dental treatment milestones for teens and young adults. Each year, our surgeons consult, and treat, thousands of patients concerning their wisdom teeth.
Some patients may be surprised at learning they need to be removed because they never caused a problem, other patients find that their ascension has been a painful one. For most patients, the development of your wisdom tooth begins getting tracked in early adolescence, your dentist watched that they came in correctly. It is usually better to evaluate and treat before major problems arise. Typically, dentists refer patients to our staff to have their wisdom teeth removed when patients are between 12-18 years old.
Why should my wisdom teeth be removed when I’m younger?
One of the biggest mistakes patients make is to wait until their mouth and gums are in agony before seeking out medical attention. If you have put off getting your wisdom teeth looked at because they seem fine, you may be inadvertently causing yourself more discomfort in the long run.
Three types of impaction that we commonly see include:
- Soft Tissue Impacted Tooth: This type of impaction means that the tooth has extended above the bone ridge, but there is insufficient room on your ridge for gum tissue to retract, so the gum tissue still partially or fully covers the tooth. This can be a breeding ground for bacteria, and cause it to be difficult to remove bacteria through brushing.
- Partial Bony Impacted Tooth: This type of impaction is when the tooth has risen partially above the bone ridge, but not fully, meaning there is room between the tooth and gum for bacteria to reside. Additionally, the tooth may not be fully extended due to lack of room, it can apply pressure to neighboring teeth pushing them out of alignment.
- Complete Bony Impacted Tooth: There is insufficient room for the tooth to push up and above the bone. This may be painful and/or cause damage to nearby teeth as it pushes.
The removal of your wisdom teeth is dependent on individual factors like your jaw size and shape, and your impacted wisdom teeth may erupt in unusual positions that are difficult to remove. That’s why Dr. Huang evaluates all surgeries digitally before the actual procedure. We want to ensure a safe and seamless wisdom tooth extraction for every single one of our patients.
When Should You Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
With more than 50 years of collective experience and training, our team of board-certified surgeons has been trained to identify a host of potential problems when it comes to your wisdom tooth development. Some reasons your oral surgeon might recommend wisdom teeth removal for your oral health:
- Alignment issues: Impacted wisdom teeth can cause your other teeth to shift. In extreme cases, this requires the expertise of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to address.
- Jaw damage: Cysts can form around your new teeth before they break through your jaw. When left untreated, the cysts hollow out your jawbone and cause nerve severe damage if not caught in time.
- Cavities: Swollen gums create pockets between teeth that help bacteria grow and cavities to form. If left untreated this can lead to tooth decay, tooth loss, and even gum disease.
- Sinus issues: Wisdom teeth issues have been linked to sinus pain, pressure, and congestion.
- Inflamed gums: The gums surrounding your wisdom teeth can become inflamed, swollen, and difficult to clean; this can lead to infection if not treated.
- Damage to surrounding teeth: In extreme cases, your third molars can push against your other teeth, causing dental discomfort and bite issues.
What To Expect For Your Wisdom Extraction Procedure
Wisdom teeth extraction is an often necessary, though not necessarily pleasant experience. We strive to make this process as easy as possible by following the steps below.
Depending on how many wisdom teeth you are having removed, the length of your wisdom tooth extraction procedure will vary. During your consultation, our staff at Henderson Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center will review your medical history and discuss your x-rays to determine the work that needs to be done. We will also discuss what to expect in your pre and post-op experience. For most patients, extracting all four wisdom teeth takes around one hour.
The Day of Your Wisdom Teeth Procedure
As one of the most common and routine procedures performed by our team, wisdom teeth extractions are almost always outpatient procedures. Depending on your level of anxiety and discomfort, your oral surgeon will go over your anesthesia options before the procedure. As licensed oral and maxillofacial surgeons, our doctors also specialize in anesthesia to ensure patients’ comfort throughout their procedure.
Typically, most procedures are performed under general anesthesia, but this is always discussed prior to treatment to assure the choice is best for the individual patient. It is important that you inform us of all medication, prescribed or not, that you have taken even if it seems irrelevant. Your safety and comfort are our first priority.
Regardless of the kind of sedation option you choose, Dr. Huang will also apply pain medication to the extraction site to protect you from any additional pain that might arise during or after your procedure.
You will be provided care instructions following your procedure. The first few days are often uncomfortable, we will provide you with medication to help. You should expect to feel better within a few days, we will outline symptoms to be aware of. For more information, contact our Green Valley and St Rose offices at (702) 270-2999.