The average adult mouth has 16 upper teeth and 16 lower teeth, although there is typically only enough space for 14 teeth in the upper jaw and 14 teeth in the lower jaw. This means that there is rarely enough space in the jaw for the very last molar in each corner of the mouth – the wisdom teeth.
Should You Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Wisdom teeth do not generally need to be removed if they have erupted into the mouth in the proper positions and are surrounded by healthy gum tissue. Unfortunately, most wisdom teeth are unable to erupt properly into the mouth. Instead, they tend to grow sideways, only partially erupting through the gum tissue, or they may be completely impacted under the gum and bone tissue.
In unhealthy positions, the wisdom teeth can pose numerous complications, many of which can be resolved when these molars are extracted. A bacterial infection can develop around a wisdom tooth that has only partially erupted through the gums. This type of infection is characterized by swelling, pain, and fever. Poorly aligned wisdom teeth can also disrupt the alignment of the neighboring teeth. More serious problems such as tumors or cysts can develop around an impacted wisdom tooth, destroying the jawbone and the adjacent teeth. To avoid these dental and health problems, the early removal of the wisdom teeth is often recommended.
The Wisdom Teeth Examination
Dental x-rays and an oral examination will help Dr. Mabe to assess the position and health of the wisdom teeth. This examination should be conducted during the mid-teens, since the surgical procedure is generally smoother and less complicated when performed early.
During surgery, your comfort can be maximized with the use of the most appropriate anesthesia. Dr. Mabe is trained and experienced in the examination and early removal of wisdom teeth.
The Procedure for Wisdom Teeth Removal
The wisdom teeth can be removed with the aid of various anesthetics, including local anesthesia, general sedation, and nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Your anesthetic options and a review of the inherent risks associated with oral surgery can be discussed prior to the surgery. After the wisdom teeth have been removed, sutures may be used to secure the surgical site and post-operative bleeding can be controlled by biting firmly on a gauze pad. Before leaving our office to rest at home, you will be provided with complete post-operative instructions, prescriptions, and a scheduled follow-up appointment.
For more information about wisdom teeth removal, please contact our office today.