By age 18, the average adult has a total of 32 teeth; 16 teeth on the bottom and 16 teeth on the top. Each tooth in the mouth has a specific function. The front teeth are ideal for grasping and biting food into smaller pieces. The teeth in the back (molar teeth) are used to grind your food into a consistency good for swallowing.
Now, your mouth is made to hold only 28 teeth and when 32 teeth try to fit it can be painful. The four teeth at the very back are your third molars, better known as your wisdom teeth. Removing widom teeth may be necessary for optimal dental heath.
The reason the third molars are called wisdom teeth is they are the last teeth to erupt. When they align properly, and the surrounding tissue is healthy, removing wisdom teeth is not necessary. However, this is rarely the case. Wisdom teeth removal is necessary when they fail to erupt properly. They may remain trapped between the gum and bone, emerge partially from the gum, or grow sideways. Impacted teeth can take several positions when they attempt to erupt successfully.
These impacted teeth are positioned poorly and can cause multiple problems. When partially erupted, bacteria can grow around the opening and cause an infection. Also, pressure from erupting wisdom teeth may move other teeth and disrupt their natural alignment. The most serious problem occurs when cysts or tumors form around the impacted tooth, resulting in damage to the adjacent healthy teeth and jawbone. Wisdom tooth removal is necessary to avoid these problems and decrease surgery in the future.
Routinely, wisdom teeth removal is completed under general anesthesia, laughing gas (nitrous oxide), or local anesthesia. We will discuss all anesthetic options and surgical risks during the consultation. After removing wisdom teeth, we suture the gums. For bleeding control, a gauze is placed in your mouth to bite down. After wisdom teeth removal you will have a recovery period in our office before you can go home.
You will receive a recovery kit with instructions, pain and antibiotic prescriptions and a scheduled appointment to remove sutures after removing wisdom teeth.