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 (molars) are used to grind food into a consistency suitable for swallowing.
The average mouth is large enough 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."
Why Would My Wisdom Teeth Need To Be Removed?
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt within the mouth. When they align properly and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth need not be removed. Unfortunately, this is generally not the case. 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 can 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 an array of problems. When they are partially erupted, the opening around the teeth allows bacteria to grow and will eventually cause an infection. The result is swelling, stiffness, pain, and even illness. Pressure from the erupting wisdom teeth may move other existing teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of the teeth. The most serious complication occurs when tumors or cysts form around the impacted wisdom teeth. This results in the destruction of the jawbone and healthy teeth. Removal of the offending impacted teeth will usually resolve 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, Dr. Akin will evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there are present or may be future problems. Studies show that early evaluation and treatment will result in an ideal outcome for the patient. Patients are generally first evaluated in the mid-teenage years by their general dentist, orthodontist or by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize patient comfort. Dr. Akin has the training, license and experience to provide various types of anesthesia for patients to select the best alternative for them.
In most cases, wisdom tooth removal is performed under local anesthesia, laughing gas (nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia) or general anesthesia. These options, as well as the surgical risks (i.e., sensory nerve damage, sinus complications), will be discussed with you prior to the procedure. Once the teeth are removed, the gum is sutured. To help control bleeding, bite down on the gauze placed in your mouth. You will rest under our supervision in the office until you are ready to be taken home. Upon discharge, your postoperative kit will include postoperative instructions, a prescription for pain medication, antibiotics, and a follow-up appointment in one week for the removal of sutures. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us.
Our services are provided in an environment of optimum safety that utilizes modern monitoring equipment and an excellent staff who are experienced in anesthesia techniques.