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Wisdom Teeth Extractions

3rd molars, usually referred to as wisdom teeth, are commonly the last 4 of 32 teeth to emerge (surface) in the mouth, commonly erupting between the ages of 18 to 24. They are situated at the rear of the mouth (top and bottom), near the opening to the throat. The term "wisdom" comes from the thought that the molars erupt at a time uasually associated with increased "wisdom" or maturity.

In most situations, lack of space in the mouth does not permit the wisdom teeth to become completely functional or erupt completely. Subsequently, the tooth can become (stuck) impacted in a poor or potentially deleterious position. If left alone, impacted wisdom teeth can lead to damage to other teeth, infection, and possibly tumors or cysts.

There are several kinds, or types, of impactions based on the positioned depth of the teeth within the jaw:

  • Soft Tissue Impaction: The top section of the the crown (tooth) has erupted through the bone, but the gum (gingiva) is covering part or all of the tooth's crown and has not positioned properly surrounding the tooth. Because it is hard to maintain the cleanliness of the area, debris can become surrounded under the gum and cause an inflammation and/or tooth decay, resulting in swelling and pain.
  • Partial Bony Impaction: The tooth has partially penetrated, but an area of the crown remains under the gum and nearby jawbone. Again, because it is hard to keep the surrounding area clean, infection may commonly happen.
  • Complete Bony Impaction: The tooth is totally surrounded by jawbone. This more complex removal methods will then be needed.

Why remove wisdom teeth?

Since not all wisdom teeth need to be extracted, wisdom teeth removal is most commonly done because of an acute issue such as decay, pain, swelling, or infection. or as a preventative procedure to stay away from serious issues in the future. A number of possible harmful results can occur if one or more remaining wisdom teeth remain. They include:

  • Damage to proximal teeth: 2nd molars (the teeth right in front of the wisdom teeth) may be unfavorably affected by impacted wisdom teeth, leading to gum disease (periodontal disease), cavities (decay) and potential loss of bone.
  • Disease: Although less common, tumors and cysts may occur in the areas near impacted wisdom teeth.
  • Infection: Food and bacteria may become trapped under the gum tissue, leading to an infection. The infection may cause potential pain.
  • Tooth Crowding: It has been thought that impacted wisdom teeth can place pressure on nearby teeth and result in teeth becoming crowded and misaligned. This idea isn't totally accepted by all dentists.

What is a wisdom teeth examination?

As with any dental approach, Dr. Braithwaite may want to 1st make a comprehensive analysis of the wisdom and nearby teeth. A panoramic x-ray will be made in order for your dentist to assess the position of the wisdom teeth and decide if a existing problem remains, or the possibility of any potential future issues. The radiograph may show additional risk factors, such as the breakdown or decay of other teeth. Early examination and therapy is recommended in order to show possible issues and to better the outcome for patients needing wisdom teeth removal. Only after a complete analysis can your dentist show you with the optimal results for your individual situation.

What does the extraction of wisdom teeth involve?

Wisdom teeth extraction is a routine procedure, occasionally done under intravenous (IV) sedation, local anesthesia, or general anesthesia by a specialized dentist in an office surgery suite. The surgery is typically done in office, and you will be sent home with post-operative medication (if necessary) and instructions, to help manage any discomfort or swelling.