Wisdom Teeth

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.

Most people have 3 sets of molar teeth.  The first and second molars typically erupt into the mouth at the ages of 6 years and 12 years. The third molar or “wisdom” tooth is to come in at the age of “wisdom” -late teens to early twenties.  However, may people do not have enough room in their mouth for complete eruption, function, and ability to maintain.  This can create problems.

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. In rare cases a severe life threatening infection can result.  Also, damage can occur to the adjacent 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.  In general it is ideal to have wisdom teeth removed prior to age 25.

Oral Examination

With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, Dr. Berman 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. Berman has the training, and experience to provide various types of anesthesia for patients to select the best alternative.

Removal

In most cases, the removal of wisdom teeth can be performed with local anesthesia, laughing gas (nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia) or intravenous general anesthesia. These options, as well as the surgical risks (i.e., sensory nerve damage, sinus complications), will be discussed with you before the procedure is performed at a consultation visit.  We feel it is important to spend the time to answer all of your questions about the process. All necessary prescriptions will be provided. 

Our services are provided in an environment of optimum safety that utilizes modern monitoring equipment and staff who are experienced in anesthesia techniques.