Removal of 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, canines 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. The average mouth is made to hold only 28 teeth. It can be painful for 32 teeth to fit in a mouth that holds only 28 teeth. These four other teeth are your “third molars,” also known as “wisdom teeth.”

Why Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt in 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 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. The pressure from the erupting wisdom teeth may move other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of 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 of wisdom teeth is recommended to avoid such problems and to decrease the surgical risk involved with the procedure.

Wisdom Teeth Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of wisdom teeth, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to wisdom teeth are discussed.

Wisdom Teeth Presentation

Oral Examination:

With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, Dr. Shannon and Dr. Hunter evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth for problems. Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a superior outcome for patients. Generally, patients are first evaluated in the mid-teenage years by their dentist, orthodontist or by an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon.

Wisdom Tooth Removal Overview

For a brief narrated overview of the wisdom teeth removal process, please click the image below. It will launch our flash educational MiniModule in a separate window that may answer some of your questions about wisdom teeth.

Wisdom Tooth Removal Overview

All outpatient surgery is performed from a range of anesthesia and sedation options to maximize patient comfort. Dr. Shannon and Dr. Hunter have the professional training, credentials and experience to provide the most appropriate anesthesia for each patient’s procedure.

Removal of Wisdom Teeth:

In most cases, the removal of wisdom teeth is performed under local anesthesia, laughing gas (nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia) or general anesthesia. These options, as well as surgical risks (i.e. sensory nerve damage, sinus complications), will be discussed with you before the procedure is performed. Once the teeth are removed, the gum is sutured. To help control bleeding, bite down on the gauze placed in your mouth. You will rest under our supervision in the office until you are ready to be taken home. Upon discharge, your post-operative kit will include post-operative instructions, prescriptions for pain medication and antibiotics if necessary, as well as a follow-up appointment in one week’s time. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at Reading Office Phone Number 978-682-5255. Our patient services are provided in an environment of optimum safety that utilizes state-of-the-art monitoring equipment with staff who are experienced in anesthesia techniques.