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Wisdom Teeth

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last teeth to develop in the mouth. They are called “wisdom teeth” because they usually appear during a person’s late teens or early twenties, which has been called the “age of wisdom”.

What Does “Impacted” Mean?

Oftentimes a wisdom tooth is blocked from properly emerging within the mouth and may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum, and even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. Nine out of ten people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth.

Do I Need to Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

When they align properly and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth may not have to be removed. Unfortunately, this does not generally happen.

Impacted teeth can lead to such problems as pain, infection, damage to adjacent teeth, damage to adjacent bone and in some cases to cysts and tumors. Sometimes problems develop with teeth that have erupted into the mouth in an upright and normal position. A recent study sponsored by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons found that these wisdom teeth may be as prone to disease as those that are impacted. 

When Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Early removal is recommended to avoid future problems and to decrease the surgical risks involved with the procedure. It is best to remove the teeth before the roots are fully formed. As you age, the roots will thicken and become more firmly anchored to the jawbone. If you wait until your wisdom teeth cause you trouble, risks and chances of complications are higher, and recovery may not proceed as smoothly as when they are removed electively. Therefore it is recommended that patients first be evaluated in the mid-teenage years by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

Oral Examination

"Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a superior outcome for the patient"

With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, Dr. Haim can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and determine if there are present or may be future problems. 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. Dr. Haim has the training, license and experience to provide various types of anesthesia for patients.

Removal

The removal of wisdom teeth is performed under anesthesia that is appropriate for each patient’s individual needs. These options include:

  • local anesthesia
  • nitrous oxide (laughing gas) sedation
  • intravenous sedation
  • general anesthesia

Dr. Haim will review your options during the consultation to help you choose the option that is best for you.