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Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

Wisdom Teeth

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the last molars, or “third molars” that develop on each side of the jaws, usually between the ages of 16-20 years old. They are a valuable asset to the mouth when they are healthy and properly positioned. 

What can happen if I don’t get them removed?

When they are partially erupted, the opening around the teeth allows bacteria to grow, eventually causing 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. 

How are they removed?

In most cases, the removal of wisdom teeth is performed under local anesthesia, conscious sedation or general anesthesia. These options, 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, sutures are placed if necessary that will dissolve on their own. 

What can I expect after the procedure?

You may experience post-operative swelling following your surgery and some discomfort. Over the counter analgesics may be all that is needed to relieve your discomfort however stronger medication may be prescribed if required. A soft food diet is also recommended for several days. 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. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call our office.