Wisdom teeth

Oral Examination

Wisdom teeth, also known at your third Molars, are the last teeth to erupt in the mouth. Many adults have all 32 of their permanent teeth develop, but the average mouth is made to hold only 28 teeth, making the last 4 molars (the wisdom teeth) a sometimes painful addition to the patient’s mouth. Since Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt within the mouth, there is often not enough room for them to fit in properly.

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 that will allow them to erupt successfully. When they align properly and the surrounding gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth do not have to be removed. Unfortunately, this does not generally happen.

The removal of the wisdom teeth is usually accomplished under a sedation/anesthetic technique. This approach assures the patient of the greatest comfort and allays anxiety. The preparation for the sedation/anesthetic involves having an ’empty stomach’ for 6 hours prior to the appointment, which is typically early in the day to make the fasting simpler for the patient. At the appointment, the procedures are accomplished and the patient then awakes very rapidly due to the type of medications used. Local anesthetic is administered (‘freezing’) while the patient is asleep, so that there is no discomfort. Care instructions are given along with a prescription for medications. The recovery can approximate 2-3 days on average; but the recovery varies with many factors. Certainly, infection can delay the recovery and specific instructions are given for oral hygiene, related to the surgery sites.

Patients are generally anxious about the removal of wisdom teeth, but each experience is so varied as to the bone structure, degree of dental development of the roots, position of the teeth within the mouth, patient personality, etc. Therefore, Dr. Wittenberg and the staff will describe the predicted recovery for each individual patient based upon their personal situation.

The removal of wisdom teeth is predictable and generally involves a short recovery period.