Wisdom Tooth (Odontectomy)2017-07-19T04:53:46+08:00
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What is it?

The average adult has thirty-two teeth by age eighteen: sixteen teeth on the top and sixteen 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 while the back teeth, or molar teeth, are used to grind food up into a consistency suitable for swallowing.

However, 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.”

Although blocked from erupting, these teeth can exert significant amounts of pressure to the adjacent teeth and jaw structures resulting in a variety of symptoms. An individual can experience swelling of the affected area, sore throat, headaches, and ultimately infection. Adjacent teeth may shift or develop caries (decay). Impacted teeth are also known to develop cysts that can enlarge, hollowing out the jaw, causing permanent damage to the adjacent bone, teeth and nerves. Tumors can arise from the walls of these cysts further complicating treatment.

Many of the problems created by impacted third molars can develop without symptoms. When they do occur, significant and occasionally permanent damage may have already occurred. When the presence of third molars has been determined, it is best to have them evaluated. If their removal is indicated, it is frequently recommended that third molars be treated before symptoms occur. As an individual ages, the bone becomes more dense making the removal of third molars more difficult and more complications are encountered.

Treatment of Third Molars

To determine if wisdom teeth are present and if removal is indicated a thorough examination of your mouth is performed. A specialized panoramic x -ray is frequently necessary for a proper evaluation, revealing characteristics of the third molars, jawbone and adjacent nerves that are not observed by visual inspection of your mouth. The results of these procedures are discussed with you and recommendations are made.

Under certain circumstances it may be recommended not to remove third molars. Many individuals have sufficient room in their mouths to accommodate third molars. Occasionally the removal of third molars can be delayed when further development of the third molars will make their removal less complicated.

The removal of third molars is frequently recommended. This requires selective surgical procedures that are individualized according to patient need. The uses of modern anesthetic techniques make the surgery virtually pain-free.

The majority of procedures are performed in the office. Most surgery is completed and the patient discharged from the office within an hour. Analgesics are prescribed to minimize post-operative discomfort. Hospitalization for the surgery on an outpatient or inpatient basis is available when medically necessary.

Recovery is usually rapid with most patients resuming normal activities within a few days following the procedure. Serious complications following the removal of third molars are infrequent; however, a discussion of potential complications is made so that an informed consent for surgery is obtained.

Procedure

The removal of impacted wisdom teeth is quite different from the extraction of erupted teeth. The following conditions may occur, all of which are considered normal:

  • There may be swelling around the surgical site.
  • Trismus (tightness) of the muscles may cause difficulty in opening mouth.
  • You may have a slight earache and a sore throat.
  • Your other teeth may ache temporarily.
  • If the corners of the mouth are stretched, they may dry out and crack. Your lips should be kept moist with a cream or ointment.
  • There may be a visible socket where the tooth was removed. This area should be rinsed with warm salt water after meals. This cavity will gradually fill in with new tissue.
  • There may be a slight elevation of temperature.
  • Slight bleeding (oozing) may occur from area of surgery for 24 hours.

Why should I remove my wisdom teeth?

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 properly erupting within the mouth. They may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum, 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 erupt successfully.

These poorly positioned impacted teeth can cause many problems. When they are partially erupted, the opening around the tooth allows bacteria to grow and will eventually cause an infection. The result – swelling, stiffness, pain and illness. The pressure from the erupting wisdom tooth 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 tooth, resulting in the destruction of the jaw bone and healthy teeth. Removal of the offending impacted tooth or teeth usually resolves these problems. Early removal is recommended to avoid such future problems and to decrease the surgical risk involved with the procedure.

With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, we can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there may be present or 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.

All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize patient comfort. OUr doctors have the training, licensing and experience to provide various types of anesthesia to allow patients to select the best alternative. These services are provided in an environment of optimum safety, utilizing modern monitoring equipment and staff experienced in anesthesia techniques.

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