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 only has room for 28 teeth. It can be painful when 32 teeth try to fit in a mouth that only holds 28 teeth. These four other teeth are your third molars, also known as “wisdom teeth.”
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 do not have to be removed. Unfortunately, this does not generally happen. The extraction of wisdom teeth is necessary when they are prevented from fully and 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.
These 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: inflammation, 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. Another common problem is the damage to the teeth immediately next to the wisdom teeth (the second molars) in the form of gum disease, decay or erosion. 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 before the teeth are even visible is recommended to avoid such problems and to decrease the surgical risk involved with the procedure.
One important thing to remember is that not all these problems present with pain. Or in other words, just because they don’t hurt doesn’t mean they are not causing problems!
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. Barton can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there are currently causing, or may cause problems in the future. Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a superior outcome for the patient. Patients should be evaluated in the early to mid-teenage years by their dentist, orthodontist or by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
In most cases, the removal of wisdom teeth is performed under IV anesthesia with supplemental local anesthesia. These options, as well as the surgical risks (i.e., sensory nerve damage, sinus complications), will be discussed with you before the procedure is performed. Once the teeth are removed, the gum will be sutured if needed. To help control bleeding, gauze is placed in your mouth over the surgical site. As you bite down on this it will put pressure on the surgical area and this will stop the bleeding and help blood clots to form. You will rest under our supervision in the office until you are ready to be taken home. Upon discharge, your postoperative kit will include care instructions, a prescription for pain medication and extra gauze. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at Richfield Office Phone Number (435) 287-4455.
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.
What To Expect After
What people experience after wisdom tooth removal can be as varied as people themselves, but most people will have discomfort that requires the use of oral pain medicines and will experience swelling. The swelling usually begins after surgery and then continues to increase for up for 2 to 3 days. At that point it peaks and then gradually improves each day. The pain generally starts to improve after the first 2 to 3 days as well. You should notice a gradual process of improvement after the 3rd day. The jaw may be stiff and hard to open wide as well. This also tends to gradually improve after day 3.
If you follow the post-operative instructions as they are given to you, this will help to smooth out your recovery as much as possible. Please refer to the instructions here.
If you have any questions, please call us at Richfield Office Phone Number (435) 287-4455.