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Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth, which are also known as the third molars, are the last permanent teeth to develop in the oral cavity as well as the final ones to come into place. However, as is often the case, many wisdom teeth do not have sufficient room to erupt, are not developing correctly, or are causing issues for the adjacent teeth and the surrounding tissues. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons frequently see patients with impacted or problematic wisdom teeth for an evaluation or extractions as indicated.

A wisdom tooth is considered impacted when it is submerged under gum tissue or bone and unable to erupt into position. Based on the type and amount of overlying tissue, impactions are classified in a few different ways. Soft tissue impactions occur when a wisdom tooth remains covered by gum tissue. If a wisdom tooth remains completely or partially obstructed by bone, it's known as a bony impaction.

Impacted wisdom teeth can potentially cause many problems and may need to be removed when they are the source of:

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Cysts
  • Tumors
  • Damage to adjacent teeth
  • Gum disease
  • Extensive tooth decay

Although the extraction of wisdom teeth might be recommended for an older patient, the early removal of problematic or potentially problematic ones in young adults is often the case.

As performed by a skilled oral and maxillofacial surgeon, the removal of wisdom teeth involves minimal discomfort. After reviewing the patient’s medical and dental history, our oral and maxillofacial surgeon performs a clinical exam and takes diagnostic images, including a 3D x-ray as needed. In this way, the most detailed view of the tooth's anatomy, position, the degree of impaction, and a comprehensive view of the nearby structures is obtained. Following this assessment, every option in care, and any potential complications are discussed. All procedures are performed under appropriate anesthesia and sedation as needed to ensure patient comfort.

Following the extraction of wisdom teeth, postoperative instructions to control any bleeding or swelling, or other sequelae will be provided — also, a prescription for pain medication as needed, antibiotics, and an appointment for any follow-up care are given.