Although most people develop 32 permanent teeth, quite often the jaws are not large enough to accommodate the four wisdom teeth. When inadequate space prevents the teeth from erupting into the proper position, they are “impacted.” An impacted tooth remains embedded in gum tissue or bone beyond its normal eruption time. Because they are the last teeth to emerge, the most common teeth to become impacted are the wisdom teeth, which normally emerge between the ages of 17 and 21.
Some of the problems that can develop from partially impacted teeth include pain, infection, crowding, and damage to adjacent teeth. More serious problems, such as damage to the jawbone caused by the formation of cysts, can occur with completely impacted teeth. Surgeons generally recommend the removal of wisdom teeth to prevent these problems from developing.
Your Surgical Procedure
We provide surgery in an environment of ultimate safety, utilizing modern monitoring equipment operated by surgical team members who are experienced in anesthesia techniques. The surgical approach will vary depending on the position of your wisdom teeth, whether they are erupted or impacted, and how close the roots of your wisdom teeth are to your sinuses and nerves.
Following the procedure, we will give you post operative instructions, a prescription for pain medication (and possibly one for an antibiotic), and extra gauze pads.
Recommended Age for Removal of Wisdom Teeth
As the wisdom teeth develop, the roots continue to grow longer and the jawbone becomes denser. So as you get older, it becomes more difficult to remove your teeth and complications are more likely. In addition, the problems associated with impacted teeth tend to occur with increasing frequency after the age of 30.
Therefore, it is usually recommended to have wisdom teeth removed during the teenage years or early twenties before the root structure is fully developed. Although in some cases it is recommended that they are removed as early as 11 or 12 years of age.
We will discuss the need for removal of your wisdom teeth and the potential risks and complications involved with your surgery. We will also review your options for anesthesia, including local anesthesia, nitrous oxide analgesia (“laughing gas”), sedation, or general anesthesia. Finally, we will explain what you can expect post-operatively. Following your evaluation, we will review your pre-operative instructions and schedule your surgery appointment.