Most individuals will require extraction of their wisdom teeth at some point during their lives. These extra sets of back teeth may never come through the gums, or they may erupt through the gums at an irregular angle. In either case, the wisdom teeth can become stuck (impacted), ultimately causing an array of problems, including severe pain and issues that can affect your oral health and the condition of your other teeth.
Many general dentists do not offer advanced treatment for wisdom teeth extraction. Fortunately, this procedure is a strong focus of our practice, and our experienced oral surgeons—Dr. Michael W. Golding and Dr. J. Gregory Sabol—offer effective treatment designed to successfully remove wisdom teeth in the most efficient, comfortable way possible. If you or your child is in need of wisdom teeth removal to reduce current symptoms or to prevent the complications that can arise from wisdom teeth later in life, our doctors at Oral & Facial Surgeons of Arizona can help.
- What Are Wisdom Teeth?
- Reasons to Remove Wisdom Teeth
- Wisdom Teeth Impaction
- Wisdom Teeth Extraction Procedure
- Wisdom Teeth Extraction Recovery
- Will I Have Pain from Wisdom Teeth Removal?
- What to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal
- Wisdom Tooth Extraction Cost
- Additional Wisdom Teeth Removal FAQs
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are additional molars (back teeth) that often do not develop until one reaches their late teens or twenties. The reason they took on the name “wisdom” teeth is because the acquiring of wisdom is often associated with maturity, and wisdom teeth come with age. These extra molars are ultimately not necessary for effective chewing, and they often simply do not have room inside the mouth to grow properly. In many cases, wisdom teeth that are left inside the mouth can create substantial oral health problems; therefore, it is often “wise” to have wisdom teeth removed!
Why Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
If wisdom teeth are allowed to develop without treatment, they can become impacted and cause a number of serious complications. These include:
- Pain and stiffness around the area of the wisdom teeth
- Overcrowding of the teeth caused by excessive pressure from the wisdom teeth
- Movement and shifting of other teeth
- Periodontal (gum) disease
- Infections due to trapped food and bacteria in the wisdom teeth areas
- Damage to surrounding teeth
- Negative effects on past or current orthodontic treatment
- Cysts or tumors surrounding the wisdom teeth that can affect the health of the jawbone and other teeth in the area
Some patients may not be experiencing active symptoms; however, wisdom teeth removal may be recommended as a preventative treatment in order to reduce the potential for problems that may arise in the future.
Wisdom Teeth Impaction
When wisdom teeth become impacted, they can cause a number of detrimental symptoms, including severe pain, swelling in the gums or around the jaws, bleeding gums, bad breath, strange tastes when eating, and even headaches. With that in mind, some individuals who have impacted wisdom teeth experience no symptoms at all.
Wisdom teeth impaction can occur to varying degrees. Soft tissue impaction is present when the top portion of the tooth (the crown) has come through the bone but is fully or substantially covered by the gum. A partial bony impaction involves a wisdom tooth that has partially erupted, but is still primarily below the gum tissue and inside the jawbone. A full bony impaction is a tooth that has not erupted and is completely covered by the jawbone.
Our surgeon will determine the type of wisdom teeth impaction you may be experiencing during the initial consultation and evaluation. If extraction is necessary, a customized treatment plan can be created to effectively remove the wisdom teeth.
What Does the Wisdom Teeth Removal Procedure Involve?
Wisdom teeth removal is one of the most commonly performed procedures at our practice. This is an outpatient treatment that typically does not require an overnight hospital stay. In addition to the safe and effective removal of the wisdom teeth, your comfort is a high priority for our team. While a local anesthetic is often all that’s necessary to minimize potential discomfort during this procedure, we offer a variety of anesthesia options – including general anesthesia and nitrous oxide – for patients who would like to ensure they feel as relaxed as possible.
Once the wisdom teeth have been removed, a small number of sutures will often be necessary to seal the opening in the gums. These sutures resorb on their own so you will not need to come back in to have them removed. Wisdom tooth extraction is typically a very simple treatment, and our team strives to make the process a quick, comfortable, and efficient one. Once your procedure is complete, we will provide you with aftercare instructions and a kit that includes antibiotics and, if necessary, a prescription for oral pain medicine.
Wisdom Teeth Removal with Platelet-Rich Fibrin (PRF)
Scientific advances in the field of tissue and bone regeneration have paved the way for new techniques in oral surgery that can enhance healing and quicken the recovery process. One of these advances involves the use of platelet-rich fibrin (PRF), a substance derived from the patient’s own blood that can more rapidly repair and regenerate oral tissues, which can promote healing in the areas where the wisdom teeth were removed. A small amount of blood will be taken before the wisdom tooth extraction procedure. The blood will then be placed in a state-of-the-art, FDA-cleared device called the IntraSpin™. This device will separate the blood platelets to produce leukocyte platelet-rich fibrin (L-PRF™), which contains natural growth factors that can aid the healing process. The L-PRF™ will then be prepared for application on the treatment sites. The PRF technique is a revolutionary step forward for wound healing, and has become a standard part of our wisdom teeth removal procedures.
They were very kind and explained the process throughly when my daughter got her wisdom teeth removed both Dr.Sabol and the nurses helped very much.
September 19, 2018
What Can I Expect During Recovery from Wisdom Teeth Extraction?
The specific details of what to expect during the recovery process from wisdom teeth extraction will ultimately depend on the number of teeth being removed, your unique rate of healing, and how closely post-treatment instructions are followed. While there will likely be some temporary swelling and discomfort in the treatment areas, this can be managed with pain medication. You may be placed on a restricted diet for a few days after the procedure (typically a soft-food diet) to minimize the risk of harm to the extraction areas as they heal. In most cases, wisdom teeth extraction does not require extensive downtime following the procedure.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Tips
Once your wisdom teeth have been removed, there are some steps you’ll need to take in order to feel as comfortable as possible and to make sure the recovery process is smooth and effective. You will be provided with some gauze pads to place on the treated areas following the procedure; please be sure to change these out as directed. Rinsing the mouth gently—never vigorously—and refraining from touching the area is also important. Hot liquids, alcohol, smoking, and use of straws should be avoided. Taking it easy after treatment and getting plenty of rest can also be helpful. Ice packs applied to the facial areas where the wisdom teeth were extracted will be necessary for the first couple of days, and pain medication can help control discomfort. Remember to follow the detailed instructions that our office will provide to you, and never hesitate to call us with any questions or concerns you may have.
Learn more about caring for the treated areas after wisdom teeth removal.
Will I Have Pain from Wisdom Teeth Removal?
The areas where the wisdom teeth were removed will be a bit sore for a few days following treatment. This is completely normal, and any discomfort during the recovery process can be well-managed with medication. Once the effects of the local anesthetic begin to fade, over-the-counter Tylenol® or ibuprofen can often be sufficient to alleviate pain; however, we may prescribe pain medication in some instances. By strictly following post-operative care instructions, you can help minimize any pain after wisdom teeth removal and increase the likelihood of a safe and effective healing process.
What to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal
Patients typically need to stick to soft, nutritious foods immediately after wisdom teeth removal. Broths, blended soups, applesauce, mashed fruits or vegetables, and yogurt are often good options at the beginning. As recovery progresses and as patients feel comfortable, more of the standard types of food in a regular diet can be introduced; however, it is important to follow the post-operative care instructions that we will provide in order to make sure you are getting the proper nutrition while avoiding items that may cause harm to the treated areas while they heal. Staying hydrated during this time is also imperative, so we advise patients to consume lots of water throughout the day.
How Much Does Wisdom Tooth Extraction Cost?
The total cost of wisdom tooth extraction is based on a number of factors, including how many wisdom teeth are being extracted, the complexity of the procedure, the experience of the oral surgeon, and other components. If general anesthesia or other sedation dentistry techniques are utilized during the procedure, this will also have an effect on the overall price. Additionally, the type of extraction necessary is an important cost component—there are five different types, ranging from simple to difficult. Since each patient has unique needs, the best way to determine the price of wisdom teeth extraction is to have an oral examination with x-rays so that our doctor can see what will be necessary for the procedure.
When you meet with our oral surgeon and a customized treatment plan for wisdom tooth extraction is developed, a member of our team will calculate the total cost of treatment, including all potential expenses, and talk with you about our payment options. Many insurance companies offer at least partial coverage for wisdom tooth extraction, and we work with reputable agencies such as CareCredit® that offer convenient dental care financing options for qualified applicants. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the variety of payment options available at our practice.
Additional Frequently Asked Questions About Wisdom Teeth Extraction
When do wisdom teeth come in?
Wisdom teeth usually emerge between the ages of 17 and 25, although their development actually begins around the age of 10. Removing wisdom teeth prior to their full development (often between 15 – 18 years of age) when the roots are only partially formed can typically afford an easier procedure that may lead to a faster recovery. Your dentist or oral surgeon can perform X-rays to determine if wisdom teeth are developing prior to their appearance and when will be the best time for wisdom teeth extraction.
Does wisdom teeth removal hurt?
During wisdom teeth removal, most patients have a strong local anesthetic applied to the area and therefore should not experience any pain while the treatment is performed. Others may wish to have additional sedation techniques administered to relieve any anxiety they may have about the procedure. After the treatment, especially during the following eight hours, it’s common to have some degree of discomfort and swelling. Ice packs and pain medication (taken as needed) can be used as the gums and mouth fully recover. Following our after-care instructions very closely offers the greatest resource for minimizing discomfort.
When can I eat solid food after wisdom teeth removal?
It is highly recommended to follow a soft-food diet for four to five days after wisdom teeth removal. If not, the chewing poses a damaging risk to the treatment areas that could lead to delayed healing and possible infection. Patients should also avoid caffeine, alcohol, hot beverages, and drinking through straws for at least 24 hours. This restricted diet may also prove to be more comfortable for the patient during recovery but should not be necessary to extend beyond one or two weeks post-surgery.
Why are they called “wisdom teeth”?
Simply put, as the wisdom teeth are generally the last grouping of teeth to appear, they go by this name because they fully develop at a more mature and “wiser” age.
How can you tell that your wisdom teeth are coming in?
Although some individuals may not even be aware of wisdom teeth developing beneath the surface, others might experience common side effects of this movement. These can include swelling, bleeding, or tender gums behind the second group of molars, trouble chewing and jaw pain (in some cases a sharp pain), resistance to opening your mouth wide, low-grade fever, a pressure sensation among the teeth, and a small fold of gum over the area in which the wisdom teeth are about to emerge. For those who do not experience any of these symptoms, annual X-rays provided by your dentist should be able to detect the arrival of wisdom teeth.
For more information on wisdom teeth extraction for you or your child, or if you would like to schedule a consultation to talk more about this procedure, please contact Oral & Facial Surgeons of Arizona today.