Wisdom Teeth

What are 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 into a consistency suitable for swallowing.

The average oral cavity has enough space to accommodate 28 teeth. It can be painful when 32 teeth try to fit in a mouth with room for only 28. These four extra teeth are your Third Molars, also known as “wisdom teeth” and are the last to develop.

Why Should I have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt within the mouth. When they align properly and the gum tissue is healthy, removal of the wisdom teeth may not be necessary. However, this is rarely the case. Extraction of wisdom teeth is indicated when they are unable to erupt into the proper position in the mouth. Often they erupt sideways, partially emerge from the gum and remain partially trapped beneath the gum and bone.

Interactive Wisdom Teeth Presentation button

These poorly positioned impacted teeth can cause many problems. When they are partially erupted, the opening around the tooth allows bacteria to grow and 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. Because of their compromised position far back in the jaws, they are difficult to clean and very often result in large cavities of both the wisdom teeth and the otherwise healthy and functional second molar teeth. If allowed to progress this can result in loss of both the second and third molars! The most serious problems occur when tumors or cysts form around the impacted wisdom tooth, resulting in the destruction of the jawbone and healthy teeth. Removal of the offending wisdom 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, we can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict whether future problems are likely. In many cases problems are apparent on x-rays although they have not yet caused clinical symptoms such as pain or swelling. 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. We have the training, expertise and experience to provide various types of anesthesia to meet our patient’s needs.

Removal

In most cases, the removal of wisdom teeth is performed under local anesthesia, and IV sedation. The type of anesthesia as well as the surgical risks (i.e. sensory nerve damage, sinus complications) will be discussed with you before the procedure is performed. Once the teeth are removed, the gum is sutured. 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, gauze pads, a prescription for medication, and a follow-up appointment. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at 772-283-6757 (Stuart) or 772-335-5090 (Port St. Lucie, Hillmoor Dr.) or 772-785-7327 (Port St. Lucie, Gatlin Blvd).

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