The average mouth is designed to hold 28 teeth and when 32 teeth try to fit in that space, things can become crowded and painful. These final four teeth are the third molars, known as the wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth are the last to erupt and they usually make their appearance when a person is in their mid- to late-teens. Occasionally, they’ll align properly and the gum tissue is healthy so they don’t need to be removed. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. They can grow sideways and partially emerge from the gum or even remain trapped under the bone. When that happens, we say they’re impacted.
Impacted and partially erupted teeth take on a variety of different positions as they attempt to find a pathway to break through the gums, which can lead to a host of problems including infection, crowding and misalignment of other teeth, tumors or cysts, tooth decay, gum disease and damage to the jawbone and healthy teeth. Thankfully, removing the wisdom teeth, especially if done early, is a relatively quick and straightforward procedure that can prevent or resolve these issues.
Benefits of Wisdom Tooth Removal
Better Oral Hygiene
Your teeth will be easier to clean preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
Maintain Your Smile
It will retain the alignment of the remaining teeth and ward off damage and crowding.
The procedure decreases the risk of cysts, tumors and infections that can occur due to impaction.
While wisdom tooth removal can be performed on adults, studies have shown that the earlier the treatment, the better the outcome for the patient. Additionally, younger patients have less risk of surgical complications and postoperative problems. Therefore, surgical evaluation when an individual is in their mid-teenage years is ideal.
When you visit OFS, Dr. Fuqua, Smith or Zouhary will perform an oral exam and take x-rays of your teeth and jaws. This will allow them to determine the position of your wisdom teeth and see if there are current issues or issues that may occur in the future. If you’re a candidate for wisdom tooth removal, we’ll go over the risks, what to expect and your options.
Generally, the outpatient surgery is performed under sedation to maximize your comfort. The doctor will make a small incision over the tooth, remove any overlying bone and extract the tooth. If necessary, to make removal easier and less invasive, the tooth can be sectioned into smaller pieces. Our minimally invasive incisions typically require no sutures.