Wisdom Teeth Removal
- Why should I have my wisdom teeth removed?
- What if I don’t have my wisdom teeth removed as a teenager or young adult?
- What happens on the day wisdom teeth are removed?
- What does wisdom tooth removal cost and is it covered by insurance?
- What if I have questions before surgery?
- Wisdom Teeth FAQ’s
Oral Examination for Extraction of Wisdom Teeth
With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, Dr. Chacon, Dr. Swanson, Dr. Vorono and Dr. Schlam can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there are present or future potential 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.
All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize patient comfort. Our doctors are trained, licensed, and highly experienced in providing various types of anesthesia for patients.
Why should I have my wisdom teeth removed?
If you do not have enough room in your mouth for your third molars to fully erupt, a number of problems can happen. Impacted wisdom teeth should be removed before their root structure is fully developed. In some patients it is as early as 12 or 13, and in others it may not be until the early twenties. Problems tend to occur with increasing frequency after the age of 30. Some of the possible problems related to not removing your wisdom teeth include:
The most frequent clinical problem we see is pericoronitis, (a localized gum infection). Without enough room for total eruption, the gum tissue around the wisdom tooth can become irritated and infected, resulting in recurrent pain, swelling, and problems with chewing and/or swallowing.
Non-infectious diseases may also arise in association with an impacted wisdom tooth. Cysts are fluid-filled “balloons” inside the jaw bone that develop as a result of impacted teeth and slowly expand destroying adjacent jaw bone and occasionally teeth. They can be very difficult to treat if your wisdom teeth are not removed in your teenage years. Although rare, tumors can be associated with the delayed removal of wisdom teeth.
Impacted wisdom teeth may contribute to crowding of your teeth. This is most noticeable with the front teeth, primarily the lower front teeth and is most commonly seen after a patient has had braces. There are a number of factors that cause teeth to crowd after braces or in early adulthood. Retained, impacted wisdom teeth may be a contributing factor. Unless you have an active problem when you see the oral surgeon, the reason for removal is primarily to prevent long-term damage to your teeth, gums and jaw bone.
Damage to Adjacent Teeth:
If there is inadequate room to clean around the wisdom tooth, the tooth directly in front, the second molar, can be adversely affected resulting in gum disease, bone loss around the tooth, and/or decay.
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What if I don’t have my wisdom teeth removed as a teenager or young adult?
As wisdom teeth develop, the roots become longer and the jaw bone more dense. When it is necessary to remove impacted wisdom teeth in your thirties, forties or beyond, the post-operative course can be prolonged and there is a higher complication rate. Treating these complications is often more difficult and less predictable than with a younger patient. Healing may be slower and the chance of infection can be increased. If your impacted wisdom teeth are not removed in your teenage years or early in your twenties and they are completely impacted in bone, it may be advisable to wait until a localized problem (such as cyst formation or localized gum disease and bone loss) develops. In general, you will heal faster, more predictably and have fewer complications if treated in your teens or early twenties.
What happens on the day wisdom teeth are removed?
Most people prefer to be unaware of the experience when they have their wisdom teeth removed and usually decide to be sedated. You will be provided with appropriate anesthesia options at your consultation. All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize your comfort. Our office staff has the training, licensing, and experience to provide the various types of anesthesia. These services are provided in an environment of optimum safety, utilizing modern monitoring equipment and a well trained experienced staff. The Surgical Care Team, the office facilities, and the doctors are inspected on behalf of the Board of Dental Examiners on a regular basis.
On the day of your procedure, you will take medications to help minimize post-operative pain and swelling. We ask that a parent or responsible adult accompanies you to the office and plans to stay with you the rest of the day. The procedure will take about 30 to 60 minutes and you will probably be in the office for 90 minutes. Recent advances in medicine and technology allow patients to undergo wisdom tooth removal in a manner, which promotes rapid healing and minimal post-operative discomfort. State-of-the-art sterilization and infection control techniques are used at all times.
On the morning or afternoon of your surgery, it is essential that you have nothing to eat or drink (excluding prescription medications with a sip of water) for at least 6 hours (preferably longer). This does not mean you should try to fit in one “last meal” exactly six hours before your surgery. Having anything in your stomach can increase the risk for serious anesthetic complications, including nausea and vomiting. Your procedure will be rescheduled if you have not heeded these guidelines. We may provide you with a prescription for pain medication at your consultation appointment, which for your convenience, can be filled in advance. When you are seated in the surgical room, we will make every effort to make you as comfortable as possible. If you are going to be sedated, we usually will place an IV in your left arm. This is a quick and nearly painless procedure that ensures optimal delivery of your medication. Local anesthesia is given to you afterwards to ensure comfort, and allow adequate time to travel home and rest. You will be sleepy for a significant portion of the day.
The Day of Treatment
Be sure to have an adult with you at the time of removal. Make plans to have a parent or responsible adult stay with you for the rest of the day, following wisdom tooth removal.
If your surgery requires stitches, these are usually the type that dissolve in 3 to 5 days and do not require removal. You may also notice a sensation of your gums feeling swollen and pulling away from your teeth. This is all part of the normal recovery, and will subside in several days.
Once the local anesthesia wears off, you may require prescription pain medication. Please try non-narcotic anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Advil®) first, to see if that adequately treats your pain. If not, begin your other prescription pain medication. The local anesthesia may last until the following day, and should not be confused with an injury to your nerve. We recommend starting your post-operative diet with clear liquids such as jello and broths, gradually increasing in substance as your body permits.
We do not recommend using dairy products such as yogurt, ice cream or milkshakes on the day of surgery, as nausea and vomiting may develop in conjunction with the anesthetic and pain medication. If you are given antibiotics and you take birth control pills, please be aware that the birth control pills might become ineffective and take appropriate precautions.
What does wisdom tooth removal cost and is it covered by insurance?
The fee for your treatment is determined by a number of factors. These may include the difficulty involved in removing your teeth and which type of anesthesia is best for you. During your consultation appointment, the surgeon will need to review your x-rays, complete an examination and determine the best option for anesthesia, before an accurate estimate can be provided. Every insurance company has a different policy regarding the extent of coverage for a given surgical procedure. The oral surgeon’s office staff will help you obtain maximum insurance coverage for your treatment.
What if I have questions before surgery?
At the time of your consultation, your specific situation will be discussed in greater detail. We encourage you to ask any questions you may have. If new questions arise after your consultation, please call our office at Puyallup Phone Number (253) 445-0022 to speak to one of our patient care coordinators.
The Day of Treatment
Please do not eat or drink anything prior to your surgery. Having anything in your stomach can increase the risk for serious anesthetic complications.
Wisdom Teeth FAQ’s
- Do I Have to Get My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
- What is an Impacted Wisdom Tooth?
- Will All Four Teeth Be Removed?
- How Long Does It Take to Remove a Wisdom Tooth?
- Do You Put Me to Sleep for Tooth Extraction?
- What is a Dry Socket?
Do I Have to Get My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
No, you don’t have to, but it’s a good idea for most people. Some people have plenty of room in their jawline for wisdom teeth to erupt, but it’s not common. If you are experiencing pain or swelling, you probably already have an impacted wisdom tooth that should come out as soon as possible. While you may not feel any pain right now, the chances are high that your third molars will eventually lead to complications that are more difficult to address. As you age, the root of a wisdom tooth gets longer, nerves become entwined, the tooth can shift, and an infection or cyst could develop. Wisdom teeth extraction performed before there’s a problem minimizes the chance of complications and gives you peace of mind.
What is an Impacted Wisdom Tooth?
An impacted tooth does not have room to erupt from the gums. This is common with third molars. Most people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth.
Will All Four Teeth Be Removed?
It depends on the condition of your teeth and your health. We will carefully assess the placement and condition of each molar to determine whether it needs removing. Some patients only need one or two extracted.
How Long Does It Take to Remove a Wisdom Tooth?
For most people, the procedure takes less than an hour. If the teeth are severely impacted, or there are complications, it may take longer. During this time, anesthesia or anesthetic will keep you comfortable and pain-free. Once you go home, pain medications can be taken. Periodically icing the jaw area can also help by reducing swelling.
Do You Put Me to Sleep for Tooth Extraction?
At Oral & Facial Surgery Centers of Washington, we do everything we can to make you comfortable during your wisdom teeth extraction. If you prefer to be asleep, we can arrange for the appropriate general anesthesia. If you want to be awake, we can give you a local anesthetic to numb the area. You’ll choose the best option for you at a consultation before the day of surgery.
What is a Dry Socket?
Occasionally there are complications following wisdom tooth removal. The most common is a dry socket, formed when the blood clot in the extraction site is knocked loose, exposing the surrounding tissue. This can cause intense pain but is very rare. If you follow your post-surgical care guidelines and avoid aggravating the area, you should heal cleanly. Two activities that can lead to a dry socket are smoking or drinking from straws too soon after surgery.
If you are worried about your upcoming wisdom teeth extraction or have questions about your wisdom teeth in general, please feel free to call our office. We’re always happy to answer your questions.