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 may 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 teeth can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to successfully erupt. Even if they are in good position, many patients have difficulty cleansing these teeth because they are so far back in the mouth. This can cause damage due to decay or gum disease to the teeth immediately in front of them. This is usually due to food trapping and dental plaque accumulation. This can cause damage or loss of the second molar in many cases. Each case of erupted second molars should be individually evaluated for retention or removal.
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 teeth usually resolves these problems. Early 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.
With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, Dr. Malloy and Dr. Alabakoff 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. The best time to remove the wisdom teeth is when the roots of the teeth are half to 2/3 formed.
All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize patient comfort. Drs. Malloy and Alabakoff have the training, license and experience to provide various types of anesthesia for patients to select the best alternative.
In most cases, for your comfort, removal of wisdom teeth is performed under Intraveonous sedation or general anesthesia. Local anesthesia, laughing gas (nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia, are other options. Anesthesia choices as well as the surgical risks and alternatives will be discussed with you before the procedure is performed. Once the teeth are removed, the gum may be sutured. To help control bleeding, gauze will be placed in your mouth. You will rest under our supervision in the office until you are ready to be taken home. Upon discharge, your postoperative kit will include postoperative instructions, a prescription for pain medication, antibiotics, and some gauze. A followup appointment may be scheduled, if thought to be necessary. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at Sunbury Office Phone Number 570-286-1631, Lewisburg Office Phone Number 570-524-2828 and Bloomsburg Office Phone Number 570-784-4321.
Wisdom Tooth Removal Overview
For a brief narrated overview of the wisdom tooth removal process, please click the image below. It will launch our educational MiniModule in a separate window that may answer some of your questions about wisdom teeth.
Our services are provided in an environment of optimum safety that utilizes modern monitoring equipment and staff who are experienced in anesthesia techniques.