Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth, or third molars are the last permanent teeth to form and move into the mouth. Wisdom teeth will usually emerge at around 16 to 18 years of age and be fully developed by the age of 22 or 23. This was assumed to be the “age of wisdom,” which is where the term “wisdom teeth” originated.

There are usually four wisdom teeth, one in each rear corner of the mouth. If the jawbone is long enough, the wisdom teeth will grow in with no resultant problems.

Problems Caused by Impacted Wisdom Teeth

If the jawbone is not long enough, the wisdom teeth will not have enough room to erupt and will become trapped inside the jawbone. In this case, the wisdom teeth have become impacted.

Partially erupted teeth are considered to be impacted. Naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth can work their way down to the impacted wisdom teeth, frequently causing infection in the surrounding gums and bone. Repeated soreness around the wisdom teeth is often mistaken as an effort of the wisdom teeth to erupt. This soreness, however, could be a sign of infection. If it is left untreated, surrounding bone, tooth roots and adjacent teeth may be harmed.

Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom Teeth

The constant pressure from impacted wisdom teeth can also damage adjacent teeth. You might not feel anything until significant damage has occurred. This pressure may also push other teeth out of line, possibly creating a need for orthodontic treatment.

Even if you have no symptoms now, headaches, earaches, pain in the face, neck, throat and upper and lower teeth can occur if impacted wisdom teeth are not removed. Cysts can also develop around impacted wisdom teeth. The sac or growth follicle that surrounds the developing wisdom teeth may remain when the teeth are impacted. This sac can fill with fluid and become cystic, destroying bone surrounding adjacent molars. In rare instances, if the cyst is not treated, a tumor may develop and more extensive procedures may be required for removal.

Advantages to Early Removal of Wisdom Teeth

Removing impacted wisdom teeth early is usually a less involved procedure than waiting until complications and pain develop. It is best to remove the teeth before the roots are fully formed. As you age, the roots will thicken and become more firmly anchored to the jawbone. If you wait until your wisdom teeth cause you trouble, the risk of complication is higher, and recovery may not proceed as smoothly as when they are removed electively.

All extractions are performed in a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere, under the type of anesthesia that is appropriate for the patient. We utilize state-of-the-art monitoring equipment and anesthesia techniques:

  • Local anesthesia
  • Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen
  • Intravenous Sedation
  • General Anesthesia
  • State of the Art Monitoring Devices:
    • Continuous EKG Monitoring
    • Automatic Blood Pressure Device
    • Continuous Pulse Monitors
    • Continuous Oxygen Monitor
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