Wisdom Tooth Removal
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 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 Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt within the mouth. When they align properly and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth do not have to be removed. Unfortunately, this does not generally happen. The extraction of wisdom teeth is necessary when they are prevented from properly erupting within the mouth. They may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum, and even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. Impacted teeth can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to successfully erupt.
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. Most individuals cannot avoid getting cavities or periodontal disease on erupted wisdom teeth, even if there is enough room for their eruption. 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.
Wisdom Teeth Presentation
To provide you with a better understanding of wisdom teeth, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to wisdom teeth are discussed.
With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, Dr. Engel can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there are present or may be 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. Dr. Engel has the training, license and experience to provide various types of anesthesia for patients to select the best alternative.
In most cases, the removal of impacted wisdom teeth is performed under deep IV sedation or general anesthesia. Some patients have their wisdom teeth removed using only local anesthesia, laughing gas (nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia), or intravenous (IV) sedation. These options as well as the surgical risks will be discussed with you before the procedure is performed. Our services are provided in an environment of optimum safety that utilizes modern monitoring equipment and staff that are experienced in anesthesia techniques and emergency procedures.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons and orthodontists work together to provide the best possible orthodontic results.
Orthognathic surgery/corrective jaw surgery, oral cancer, treatment and prevention of facial injury, nutrition and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) text excerpted with permission from the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons .
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at (860) 739-3133.
The information presented in this video is intended for educational purposes only. It is meant to help you better understand dental health conditions and procedures. For specific orthodontic or oral surgery advice, please consult an orthodontist who is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who is a fellow or member of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.