By the age range of late teens to early twenties, most adults have developed all 32 permanent teeth, with the wisdom teeth being the last to develop. Most adults do not have adequate room for proper eruption of these teeth, and the wisdom teeth (third molars) frequently become problematic. When the wisdom tooth is not fully erupted, or completely visible in the mouth, it is considered to be impacted. There are a number of impacted positions for these teeth and the level of impaction will be diagnosed and discussed during the consultation. In the adult mouth, the wisdom teeth are the most common for problems – infection, cavities, bone loss, damage to adjacent teeth, and potential cyst formation.
If adequate space is present for the wisdom teeth to develop into useful, hygienic, and healthy positions, then removal is not necessary. In most cases, however, wisdom teeth have only a portion of the tooth erupted through the gums into the oral cavity. When only part of the wisdom tooth is exposed in the mouth, effective hygiene is impossible, increasing the risk of problems. Many problems associated with wisdom teeth occur as an adult, and the recovery may be prolonged in the adult population. Early evaluation and removal of wisdom teeth have benefits from both an anatomic and healing perspective.
Once problems occur, the resulting detrimental effects are typically irreversible, so prevention is important. At your consultation, Dr. Puckett will perform an oral examination and review your X-ray. During the consultation, you will interact directly with Dr. Puckett and the staff, rather than viewing a 15 minute generic video which many offices utilize. Dr. Puckett firmly believes that you deserve personal attention and the opportunity to have all of your questions and concerns answered in person. Additionally, the procedure will be discussed, as well as what to expect during the post-operative course.