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 a 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. 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. We have been extracting wisdom teeth for nearly 20 years, and have excellent results.
Why Most People Today Need to Have their Wisdom Teeth Removed
Some people have enough room in their mouths for their wisdom teeth to come in straight, and others have one or more wisdom tooth missing (they are born without them)! These lucky people don’t need to worry about getting their wisdom teeth out.
When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Taken Out?
Teeth grow from the crown to the root, so it is much easier to extract wisdom teeth when only the part you can see has developed—usually between ages 16 and 21.
Summer break during high school is a good time to have the surgery, if this is a low-stress, less busy time for you.
The Surgery and Recovery
We perform the surgery here in our office. You will have the choice of using local, sedation or general anesthesia (there are pros and cons of each), and the entire process routinely takes less than an hour. You need to bring someone along to drive you home, as you may be groggy afterwards.
The recovery usually takes from four days to a week. Complications are rare if you follow our recovery instructions. The most common complication, dry sockets, can usually be prevented. Don’t use a straw, don’t smoke or spit, keep your head elevated.
If you rest, take your pain medications as directed, stick to soft foods for a few days, and call our office immediately if you experience any unexpected problems, you should not need a follow-up appointment.