Wisdom Teeth FAQ
Why 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 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 have partially erupted, the opening around the teeth allows bacteria to grow and will eventually cause an infection. The result: 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. 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 is recommended to avoid such future problems and to decrease the surgical risk involved with the procedure.
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars to emerge in the back of the mouth. The third molars typically erupt in a patient’s mid-teens or early twenties. They are the last adult teeth to arrive, and they often emerge impacted.
What does “impacted” mean?
When a tooth is impacted, it only partially emerges through the gums. Impactions are the primary reason Dr. D’Arco recommends wisdom tooth removal. Wisdom teeth are prone to impactions because they often squeeze between fully developed teeth.
Why get my wisdom teeth removed?
Wisdom teeth are a problem for many patients because the molars often do not have room to emerge without disturbing surrounding teeth. When a tooth doesn’t have enough space, it might erupt at an extreme angle and push teeth out of alignment in the process. Sometimes the third molars will not come in fully, getting stuck under the gums, causing sensitivity, and making it hard to maintain good oral hygiene.
If you don’t have your wisdom teeth removed, you risk developing repeated infections, cysts in your oral soft tissue, and chronic pain. Impacted wisdom teeth can contribute to gum disease and tooth decay in the surrounding area. Dr. D’Arco recommends scheduling an extraction as soon as the third molars erupt, usually between the ages of 15 and 25.
Does everyone get their wisdom teeth removed?
If your wisdom teeth have space to fit naturally and show no signs of disturbing nearby teeth, it might not be necessary for Dr. D’Arco to have them removed. However, if you keep them, the third molars are prone to disease and can cause problems later in your life. Most patients choose to have them removed as early as possible to avoid the possibility of related health complications in the future.
When should a wisdom tooth removal happen?
Dr. D’Arco recommends getting your wisdom teeth removed as early as possible after they begin to emerge. Once a patient is in their late twenties and early thirties, it is more complicated to remove wisdom teeth.
When the roots integrate with your jawbone and nerves, it may take longer to recover from a removal procedure. Recovery is much smoother when we remove them before the roots fully develop. Often, it helps to get your wisdom teeth removed around the age of 16 or 17 years old.
Do I have to get all four wisdom teeth removed?
Four wisdom teeth can emerge in your mouth. They erupt on the top and bottom rows, on both sides in the back of the mouth. But all four teeth do not always come in simultaneously or at all.
Every patient has a different experience with their wisdom teeth. Some patients need them all removed, whereas others only need a few removed. And some patients’ wisdom teeth never emerge at all.
Call our office to schedule a consultation and find out what the best treatment plan is for you.
How long does it take to get wisdom teeth removed?
If only one or two molars have emerged, Dr. D’Arco can remove your wisdom teeth in as little as an hour. If you need all your wisdom teeth removed, the procedure may take a couple of hours.
How long does recovery take after my procedure?
Every patient’s recovery time is different. Your recovery time depends on how many teeth are removed and your general state of health. In general, patients should plan to rest for the first two days and look to resume everyday life 3 to 5 days after surgery.
Does a wisdom tooth removal hurt?
There is no pain associated with a wisdom tooth removal procedure. Dr. D’Arco administers a local anesthetic and a numbing agent to the surgical area. During surgery, you are asleep and numb to physical sensations.
After surgery, when the anesthesia begins to wear off, you may feel some tenderness and soreness around the tooth extraction site. Most patients can manage pain during their recovery with ice packs and over-the-counter pain medication, like ibuprofen. Dr. D’Arco will prescribe pain medication and provide instructions for managing possible swelling during your recovery.
Will I be awake during surgery?
It is your choice whether you want to be awake or fully sedated. Patients often choose to sleep through the procedure with IV sedation, but Dr. D’Arco can accommodate different requests. You can discuss your preferences for sedation with Dr. D’Arco during your initial consultation.
Is IV sedation safe?
Yes, IV sedation is extremely safe for most patients when administered and supervised by Dr. D’Arco. Under IV sedation, patients continue breathing naturally while their vitals are under constant monitoring. Once sedated, the surgical area is treated with a numbing agent to ensure patients feel nothing through the removal procedure.