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, canine, 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 when 32 teeth try 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 within 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 wisdom teeth can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them 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 wisdom teeth usually resolves these problems. Early wisdom teeth removal is recommended to avoid such future 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.
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With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, Dr. Brown can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if they are present or if there 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 an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
All outpatient dental surgery at Dental Surgery Virginia is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize patient comfort. Dr. Brown has the training, license, and experience to provide various types of anesthesia for patients to select the best alternative.
In most cases, the removal of wisdom teeth is performed under IV anesthesia. Surgical options and detailed information will be discussed with you before the tooth extraction procedure is performed. Once the teeth are removed, the gums are closed with dissolving sutures. This minimizes bleeding and speeds healing and recovery. You will rest under our supervision in the office until you are ready to be taken home.
Upon discharge from our oral surgery center, your postoperative kit will include postoperative instructions, prescriptions for pain medication and antibiotics, and a follow-up appointment. Dissolving stitches are used, but we still like to see patients for followups to assess healing and provide useful information for rapid healing. Dr. Brown is always available to his patients after hours on his personal pager.
Our services are provided in an environment of optimum safety that utilizes modern monitoring equipment and staff that is experienced in anesthesia techniques. Dr. Brown is a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and is ACLS certified. Dr. Brown also utilizes a full-time registered nurse (RN) who has a masters degree (MSN) in critical care.
Wisdom Teeth Removal
For a brief narrated overview of the wisdom tooth 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.
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