Wisdom Teeth Extractions
Third molars, commonly referred to as wisdom teeth, are usually the last four of 32 teeth to erupt. They generally making their appearance between the ages of 17 to 25. They are located at the back of the mouth (top and bottom), near the entrance to the throat. The term “wisdom” stems from the idea that the molars surface at a time typically associated with increased maturity or “wisdom.”
In most cases, inadequate space in the mouth does not allow the wisdom teeth to erupt properly and become fully functional. When this happens, the tooth can become impacted (stuck) in an undesirable or potentially harmful position. If left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth can contribute to infection, damage other teeth, and create cysts or tumors.
There are several types, or degrees, of impaction based on the actual depth of the teeth within the jaw:
Soft Tissue Impaction: The upper portion of the tooth (the crown) has penetrated through the bone, but the gum is covering part or all of the tooth’s crown and has not positioned properly around the tooth. Because it is difficult to keep the area clean, food can become trapped below the gum and cause an infection and/or tooth decay, resulting in pain and swelling. This is really common.
Partial Bony Impaction: The tooth has partially erupted, but a portion of the crown remains submerged below the gum and surrounding jawbone. Again, because it is difficult to keep the area clean, infection will commonly occur. These infections are really common and cause a lot of pain.
Complete Bony Impaction: The tooth is completely encased by jawbone. This will require more complex removal techniques.
Reasons to Remove Wisdom Teeth
While not all wisdom teeth require removal, wisdom teeth extractions are most often performed because of an active problem such as pain, swelling, decay or infection, or as a preventative measure to avoid serious problems in the future. If impaction of one or more wisdom teeth is present and left untreated, a number of potentially harmful outcomes can occur, including:
- Damage to nearby teeth: Second molars (the teeth directly in front of the wisdom teeth) can be adversely affected by impacted wisdom teeth, resulting in tooth decay (cavities), periodontal disease (gum disease), and possible bone loss.
- Disease: Although uncommon, cysts and tumors can occur in the areas surrounding impacted wisdom teeth.
- Infection: Bacteria and food can become trapped under the gum tissue, resulting in an infection. The infection can cause considerable pain and danger.
- Tooth crowding: Impacted wisdom teeth put pressure on other teeth and cause them to become crooked.
Wisdom Teeth Examination
As with any dental procedure, we will want to initially conduct a thorough examination of the wisdom teeth and surrounding teeth. Panoramic or digital x-rays will be taken in order for us to evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and determine if a current problem exists or the likelihood of any potential future problems. The x-rays can also expose additional risk factors, such as deterioration or decay of nearby teeth. Early evaluation and treatment (typically in the mid-teen years) is recommended in order to identify potential problems and to improve the results for patients requiring wisdom teeth extractions. Only after a thorough examination can we provide you with the best options for your particular case.
What Does the Removal of Wisdom Teeth Involve?
Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure in our Burbank office, generally performed under intravenous (IV) sedation by Dr. Ramsey Amin.
You will be sent home with post-operative instructions and medication to help manage any swelling or discomfort. Dr. Amin removes wisdom teeth in such a unique way that really reduces pain. He has removed thousands of wisdom teeth and is considered an expert by his peers.
What Can You Expect?
Before surgery, we will explain what to expect and help you plan for the appointment. You will receive detailed instructions in writing.
Wisdom tooth removal will be performed while you are asleep with IV sedation. This is the most common way that wisdom teeth are removed so that you are comfortable during the procedure. The IV sedation greatly reduces pain, even after the procedure, since we are able to give you special anti-inflammatory medications that work much better through the IV. Greater than 98% of all patients have no memory of the procedure when IV sedation is used.
Some patients experience numbness or tingling in their face or jaw after surgery. Normal sensation usually returns within a few days. A condition called dry socket occasionally occurs when the blood clot breaks down sooner than normal. If this happens, we may place a special dressing or L-PRF made from your own blood in the tooth’s socket to protect it as it heals.