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 is able to hold only 28 teeth. It can be painful when 32 teeth try to fit in a mouth that can only accommodate 28! These four other teeth are your third molars, also known as “wisdom teeth”.
If you are seeing the doctor for wisdom teeth (third molar) removal, please watch the following video PRIOR to your virtual visit:
Why Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
These poorly positioned impacted teeth can cause many problems. When they are partially erupted, the opening around the teeth allows bacteria to grow and will eventually cause an infection.
The result: swelling, stiffness, pain, and illness. 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 resolves these problems. Early removal is recommended to avoid such future problems and to decrease the surgical risk involved with the procedure.
With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth we can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there are present or may cause 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. We have the training, licensure and experience to provide various types of anesthesia for patients to select the best alternative. The various options will be discussed at your initial consultation.
Surgery And Anesthesia
The removal of wisdom teeth can be performed under local anesthesia, laughing gas (nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia) or general anesthesia. These options, as well as the surgical risks (i.e., post op and sinus complications), will be discussed with you before the procedure is performed. Once the teeth are removed, the gum is usually sutured. To help control bleeding, bite down on the gauze placed in your mouth. You will rest under our supervision in the office until you are ready to be taken home. Upon discharge, your postoperative kit will include postoperative instructions, prescriptions (if not given at your initial visit), gauze and a follow-up appointment in one week if necessary. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the office.