Wisdom Teeth

Smiling Teen

Associated Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons specialize in the extraction or surgical removal of teeth, including wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth, also called third molars are the last teeth to erupt within the mouth. If they are fully erupted, aligned properly, and the gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth may not need to be removed. Unfortunately, this is not generally the case. Many people are plagued with issues related to their wisdom teeth, such as poor alignment, lack of room for eruption, impaction, infection, cysts/tumors, severe decay etc.

Impacted Teeth: An impacted tooth or teeth are ones that are growing or grew in an abnormal position in the jawbone. This can occur in both the upper and lower jaws. Impacted teeth may take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway of eruption. Consequently, they may grow sideways or emerge at odd angles. Wisdom teeth can result in pain, swelling, infection and they can also quietly cause disruption of the alignment of the teeth or develop cyst or tumors without outward symptoms. As we age the roots of the wisdom teeth can grow close to nerves or sinuses, and the the risk of complications of surgery can increase. If on clinical examination and by x-ray the wisdom teeth appear to be impacted in some manner, the early removal of wisdom teeth in the teens years or early twenties can reduce the surgical risk.

Infection: Infection can occur around any tooth, but more commonly wisdom teeth. This is due to the poor alignment as described above. As the tooth erupts, often times the wisdom tooth emerges incompletely which allows bacteria to grow. This may cause infection and result in swelling, stiffness of the jaw, pain and illness.

Cysts/Tumors: The most serious problem with wisdom teeth are cysts and tumors. These most often develop around impacted wisdom teeth. If this condition develops, it can destroy healthy jawbone and teeth in the process.

Removal of the offending tooth or teeth usually resolves these problems. We offer state of the art anesthesia techniques including intravenous (IV) anesthesia/ general anesthesia, in which you can sleep though the procedure and emerge comfortably. Extractions can most often be taken care of in the office setting as an outpatient.

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