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MAKING THE WORLD BETTER. ONE SMILE AT A TIME

WISDOM TEETH

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars are the last teeth to erupt into your mouth. This eruption generally occurs between the ages of 17 and 25 (depending on the development of the patient).

When your wisdom teeth align properly, and the surrounding gum tissue is healthy, it may not be necessary to have them removed. Unfortunately, this does not generally happen, especially with modern softer diets and the popularity of orthodontic tooth straightening procedures.

The surgical removal of wisdom teeth becomes necessary when they are blocked out from properly erupting into your mouth. They may erupt sideways toward your tongue or cheek, partially stick through the gum, and even remain completely submerged under gum and/or bone.

Because of their eruption pattern, wisdom teeth may take up many positions in the upper and lower jaw, necessitating specialist evaluation and surgical removal.

Your poorly positioned and impacted wisdom teeth can cause many problems. Partial eruption creates a gum “pocket” for food and bacteria to accumulate and cause infection and bone destruction. This will cause symptoms like swelling, trismus (jaw stiffness), pain, and general illness.

The pressure from erupting wisdom teeth may move other teeth and interfere with the orthodontic or natural alignment of other teeth.

The most serious problems arise when odontogenic tumours or cysts form around the crowns or roots of the impacted wisdom teeth. This will result in unnecessary destruction of surrounding bone and tooth structure, and may put your jaw at risk of an accidental fracture (pathological fracture). Early diagnosis and surgical removal is recommended to avoid future conditions and complications.

Not all problems and potential complications related to your impacted wisdom teeth are symptomatic or immediately evident. As your wisdom teeth develop, their roots become longer and more involved with adjacent vital structures. Thus, with age, they become more difficult to remove and complications become more likely. In general, earlier removal of wisdom teeth results in a less complicated healing process. Research found that older patients may be at greater risk for disease, including periodontitis, in the tissues surrounding the third molars and adjacent teeth.

With a clinical and radiographic examination of your mouth the surgeon can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there are present or may be future problems. Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a superior outcome for the patient. Patients are generally first evaluated in the mid-teenage years by their dentist, orthodontist or by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

In most cases, the removal of wisdom teeth is performed under general anaesthesia or local anaesthesia. All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anaesthesia to maximize patient comfort. These options, as well as the 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, postoperative instructions, a prescription for pain medication, antibiotics, and a follow-up appointment is provided.