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Wisdom Teeth

By the age of eighteen, 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 or molar teeth are used to grind food up into a consistency suitable for swallowing. The first molars usually come in by the age of six. The second molars usually come in by age 12. The third molars (wisdom teeth) usually come in by 18 years of age.

In most cases the jaw is fully formed by the age of 18 and there is frequently not enough room for the third molar teeth. 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. Frequently these teeth are stuck, still within the jaw bone. When teeth are un-erupted and still within the jaw bone, they are referred to as impacted teeth.

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 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 erupt successfully.

These poorly positioned impacted teeth can cause many problems. When they are partially erupted, the opening around the tooth allows bacteria to get in under the gums and grow; this 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. This is called crowding. The most serious problem occurs when tumors or cysts form around the impacted wisdom tooth, resulting in the destruction of the jawbone 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.

Oral Examination

With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, Dr. Nickel and Dr. Steinberg 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. Dr. Nickel and Dr. Steinberg have the training, license and experience to provide various types of anesthesia for patients to select the best alternative.

 

Removal of Wisdom Teeth

The removal of wisdom teeth can be performed under local anesthesia, local anesthesia plus laughing gas (nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia), IV sedation (twilight sleep), or general anesthesia. These options as well as the surgical risks will be discussed with you before the procedure is performed. Once the teeth are removed, the gum is usually sutured.

To help control bleeding, gauze is placed in your mouth right after the procedure. You will rest under our supervision in the office until you are ready to be taken home. Upon discharge, your post-operative kit will include postoperative instructions, a prescription for pain medication, antibiotics and a follow-up appointment in one week. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at (847) 272 9516.

Our services are provided in an environment of optimum safety that utilizes modern monitoring equipment and staff that are experienced in anesthesia techniques.

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