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Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom Teeth Management

A wisdom tooth, also called third molar, is one of the three molars at the furthest ends of your upper and lower jaws. These teeth are called wisdom because they come in between 17-25 years of age – a period of life called ‘age of wisdom’. They are the last teeth to develop in your mouth, and in many cases they are impacted which might result in various dental problems.

Impacted Teeth

An impacted tooth is a tooth which cannot break through the gums due to lack of room. According to estimates, 9 out of 10 people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth, so it is quite a usual issue.

Impacted wisdom teeth are no major threat to your health, but they can cause potential problems in your mouth, including:

  • Damage to neighboring teeth
  • Infection
  • Gum disease
  • Systemic infections and illnesses affecting the heart, kidneys and other organs

Wisdom Tooth Extraction

According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, even the wisdom teeth that break in your gums normally are still very prone to disease. Just because you are not currently in any pain, it does not mean that your wisdom teeth are not a potential risk in your mouth. Typically your dentist or oral and maxillofacial surgeon decides to remove your wisdom tooth in these cases:

  • Cavities impossible to restore
  • Cysts, tumors and other pathologies
  • Infection
  • Periodontal disease
  • Damage to neighboring teeth

Wisdom teeth that are completely healthy and functional do not require extraction. They do, however, need to be monitored on a regular basis to prevent any of the above conditions from happening.

Surgery Info

Wisdom tooth surgery is usually performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. The complexity of the surgery is very individual and depends on various factors – how the tooth is positioned, the stage of root development, etc. The surgery might be more complicated if the wisdom tooth is impacted.

In general, the surgery is performed in the office of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon or a dentist. Depending on your specific condition, the doctor will decide whether you need local or general anesthesia, or intravenous sedation. Under anesthesia the procedure involves little or no pain.

After the surgery you might experience some discomfort, swelling or pain, all of which are a regular part of the healing process. Your doctor can decide to change your diet for some time, prescribe medication to manage the pain, and recommend cold compresses to reduce the swelling.

Administration of Anesthesia

Thanks to today’s technology, providing different types of anesthesia is possible not only in a hospital setting but also at a doctor’s office. Before any procedure, make sure that your oral and maxillofacial surgeon or dentist has sufficient experience and proper technology to administer anesthesia in his office. When managed professionally, office-based anesthesia is cost-effective and convenient.

Types of anesthesia typically used for an oral or dental surgery include:

  • Local anesthesia
  • Nitrous-oxide oxygen
  • Intravenous sedation
  • General anesthesia

Dental Care

If your wisdom teeth are painless, cavity-free and in healthy gums, you don’t have to worry about removing them. You should pay extra attention to proper cleaning and hygiene, though, and schedule regular annual examinations to x-ray your wisdom teeth and thus monitor any potential changes or developments.