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Oral Surgery

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth often need to be removed.

Wisdom teeth are the third and final molars on each side of the top and bottom of your mouth. Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to develop and grow in between the ages of 17 and 25. An Adult mouth can have up to 32 teeth, consisting of 16 on the top and 16 on the bottom. However, the average mouth can usually only comfortably hold 28 teeth. Some people never develop wisdom teeth at all. If your wisdom teeth have erupted, are well aligned and do not compromise the gum tissue, there is no need for removal. However, most of the time this is not the case and removal of some or all of the third molars is highly recommended to avoid future problems.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Horizontal Impaction

Horizontal Impaction

The tooth is positioned horizontally rather than vertically.

Vertical Impaction

Vertical Impaction

The tooth is positioned vertically but does not have enough room to erupt through the gum.

Mesial Impaction

Mesial Impaction

The tooth is positioned tilting toward the second molar.

Distal Impaction

Distal Impaction

The tooth is positioned tilting toward the back of the mouth.

Potential problems caused

Wisdom teeth can cause many different problems. Extracting your wisdom teeth will take care of these problems. Some of these problems include:

  • Major or minor pain
  • Trapped food and debris behind the teeth
  • Infection or gum disease
  • Decay in partially erupted teeth
  • Damage to the surrounding bone or other teeth
  • A cyst (fluid filled sac)
  • Movement on other teeth caused by pressure

Even if your wisdom teeth are symptom free now, you may develop one or more of the above issues if they are left in place. Since it is common for younger adults to have an easier time recovering from this procedure than older adults, we suggest taking care of your wisdom sooner than later.

What to expect

If we recommend you have your wisdom teeth removed, we would be happy to schedule an appointment for you with our oral surgeon. 

The oral surgeon offers two levels of sedation for your wisdom teeth extraction: nitrous oxide and full IV sedation. The level of sedation will be based on the recommendation of the treating provider. After the sedation has taken effect, the surgeon will extract the teeth and place sutures in the gum. These stitches will dissolve so there is no need for a follow-up appointment to remove them. After the procedure, the patient will remain in the office for a short time to recover from the anesthesia.

There are some things to keep in mind when planning your appointment:

  • You will be given fasting instructions specific to your appointment
  • Any child under the age of 18 MUST be accompanied by parent or legal guardian ​
  • A driver must be present at all times during the surgery​​
  • ​​Recovery from a surgery with sedation could take up to 24 hours

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