Rotramel Family Dentistry

"Blessed are they who engage in lively conversation with the helplessly mute for they shall be called DENTIST"

Services/Restorative Dentistry

Dr. George Rotramel Family Dental

What you need to know about Wisdom Teeth

For most of us, problems with third molars or "wisdom" teeth, are a fact of life that come with the "wisdom" of maturity! That's why having them removed is often the best way to prevent problems.

Wisdom teeth have earned a reputation for making trouble in this day and age when many of us have smaller jaws than our ancestors. Frequently when these third molars at the back of the mouth begin trying to emerge sometime during our late teens or early twenties, there's not enough room for them and the potential for trouble begins--making a strong case for having them removed as soon as possible.

What Problems can Wisdom Teeth Cause?

The tendency for wisdom teeth to become "impacted" or unable to move into their proper position is the cause of most problems. Impacted wisdom teeth grow in any way they can, such as sideways or at an angle. Some may partially break through the gum surface, while others remain trapped beneath the gum and bone, leading to a host of potential complications:

How do I know if my Wisdom Teeth need to be removed?

Because problems with wisdom teeth develop gradually and symptoms may or may not be present, the best way to prevent trouble is to visit us regularly for check-ups and x-rays. Regular exams help us prevent your wisdom teeth from threatening your dental health. After all, the "best" kind of problem is one that can be prevented. In many cases, removing your wisdom teeth can take you a long way toward avoiding problems in the future.

At what age should wisdom teeth be removed?

The best time is between the ages of 16 and 19--before the roots have a chance to become firmly anchored in your jaw. Also, the older we get, the denser our jawbones become, making removal more difficult as time goes on.

What steps are involved with the procedure?

During a preliminary examination, we will evaluate your dental and medical history and take x-rays. The procedure itself depends upon how developed your wisdom teeth are. We will use local anesthetic and possibly other types of anesthesia such as nitrous oxide (often referred to as laughing gas), intravenous sedation or general anesthesia.
If your surgery includes general anesthesia or intravenous medication, avoid eating or drinking anything the night before and the morning of your surgery. We will review specific instructions with you before you come in, such as wearing loose, comfortable clothing and making arrangements for a family member or friend to drive you home after the surgery.
Following surgery, we will schedule a follow-up examination to make sure you're healing properly or to remove stitches, if your surgery required any.

Are there any risks involved with having the wisdom teeth removed?

As with any surgery, there are always risks to consider. You should be aware that certain risks such as side effects from the anesthetic, bleeding or infection are occasionally experienced with wisdom teeth removal, even though it's a common procedure where the benefits still outweigh the risks. Other possible complications may include:

What can I expect during the healing process?

During the normal healing process, you may experience initial swelling and discomfort in your gums and jaw, making it wise to plan on "taking it easy" for a few days after the surgery. Discomfort and swelling can be relieved by placing ice packs on your face. We may also prescribe pain medication to increase your comfort during the healing process, and antibiotics if necessary.
Other things you can do to help with the healing process include:

A Final Word

The best time to have your wisdom teeth removed is before they have a chance to cause other complications. If wisdom tooth removal has been discussed as an option for you, please feel free to share your concerns with us and we will be glad to advise you. We're here to help you achieve the best possible oral health, and removing your wisdom teeth may be an important step toward that goal.

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