Wisdom Teeth

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 (molar teeth) are used to grind food up into a consistency suitable for swallowing.

The average mouth is made 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 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 are partially erupted, the opening around the teeth allows bacteria to grow and will eventually cause an infection. The result: pain and swelling. 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.

Oral Examination

With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, Dr. Eggert can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth for current and future problems.  Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment will result in a superior outcome for the patient. Patients should be 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. Dr. Eggert has the training, license and experience to provide various types of anesthesia.  He will discuss all available anesthetic options during this consultation.  If the teeth are impacted, general anesthesia is required to provide adequate surgical access and patient comfort.

Wisdom Teeth Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of wisdom teeth, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to wisdom teeth are discussed.

Wisdom Teeth Presentation

Removal

In most cases, the removal of wisdom teeth is performed with a combination of local anesthesia, laughing gas (nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia) and IV medications. The anesthetic options, surgical risks, and post-operative care and course will be discussed with the patient at the consultation visit.  The surgery will usually be performed at a seperate appointment.  Once the teeth are removed, the patient will be monitored in the recovery area until they are ready to be taken home.  Post-operative instructions and the medication schedule will be reviewed with the patient’s escort.  A follow-up appointment for approximately one week after surgery will be scheduled.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at 425-882-9116.

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