What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are usually the last teeth to develop, growing in sometime in the late teens or early twenties as we reach adulthood and “the age of wisdom.” Wisdom teeth are at the back of the mouth, behind the second molars, and most people have one on each side on the top and bottom.
Why remove wisdom teeth?
Many people's jaws are too small to comfortably allow for the presence of wisdom teeth. When inadequate space prevents these teeth from erupting, they are referred to as impacted wisdom teeth, which means they will not attain a normal position. They may grow in sideways, partially emerge from the gums, or remain trapped below the gums, embedded in the jawbone. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause gum infections, formation of cysts, and problems for the teeth around them.
When to remove wisdom teeth?
An oral examination and x-rays will enable your oral surgeon to evaluate the positioning of your wisdom teeth and whether they are likely to cause problems. Early evaluation and treatment are beneficial, and most patients are seen in their mid-teenage years. Wisdom teeth can be extracted before they erupt from the gums, which can help prevent problems later.
All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize your comfort. Our office staff has the training and experience to provide a full complement of anesthesia services. These services are provided in an environment of optimum safety, utilizing modern monitoring equipment and a well-trained staff.
On the day of your procedure, we ask that a parent or responsible adult accompanies you to the office and plan to stay with you the rest of the day. The procedure will take about 30 to 60 minutes and you will probably be in the office for about 1.5-2 hours. Recent advances in medicine and technology allow patients to undergo wisdom tooth removal in a manner which promotes rapid healing and minimal post-operative discomfort.
On the morning or afternoon of your surgery, it is essential that you have nothing to eat or drink (excluding prescription medications with a sip of water) for at least 6 hours (preferably longer). This does not mean you should try to fit in one “last meal” exactly six hours before your surgery. Having anything in your stomach can increase the risk for serious anesthetic complications, including nausea and vomiting. Your procedure will be rescheduled if you have not followed these guidelines.
We will make you as comfortable as possible both during and after the procedure. If you are going to be sedated, this requires placement of a small IV. This is a quick and nearly painless aspect of the procedure that ensures optimal delivery of your medication. We administer local anesthesia once you're asleep which allows you to wake up from your surgery pain free and allows for sufficient time for a comfortable trip home.
Be sure to have a parent or responsible adult with you during your appointment, and for the rest of the day, following wisdom tooth removal.