Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are typically the last teeth to develop and are located behind the second or twelve year molars. They have a high degree of morphologic variability, which means they often are not shaped like other molar teeth.
These teeth are usually extracted during the late teens or early twenties to prevent complications, but extractions can happen later in life. Our offices are prepared to help with the eruption of your third molars, and can do so even when there are complications with their movement and positions.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
When a wisdom tooth is not able to erupt and take its appropriate position in your mouth, it is considered impacted, a common but potentially serious issue that stems from a lack of space for these molars. This problem can occur in different degrees, as the molars can be:
- Partially impacted
- Completely impacted
- Soft tissue impacted, which means the tooth erupts through the jawbone tissues but is not able to break through the gums
Impacted teeth can lead to discomfort, infection, and crowding. This issue can also stop you from practicing the appropriate oral hygiene, and it can lead to damaged neighboring molars as well as possible cyst formation around the wisdom tooth!
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) and The Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Foundation (OMSF) have conducted extensive research into this issue – The results strongly suggest that wisdom teeth should be removed by the time the patient is a young adult. Giving wisdom teeth more time to develop can ultimately make extraction more difficult, as the roots continue to grow and the density of surrounding jawbone tissues will increase. It is preferable to assess and, if needed, remove wisdom teeth BEFORE they become symptomatic.
Each of the surgical suites where we provide treatment is equipped with state of the art monitoring to ensure patient safety. Surgery is performed under local anesthesia, intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia. Your doctor will review your options with you and ensure that the right support is made available during your procedure..
Some wisdom teeth are more difficult to remove than others, as factors like their relative position, size, and the density of surrounding tissues can create challenges. When indicated, dissolvable stitches can be used to close the treatment site; these will typically dissolve within four to five days. You should expect the procedure to take approximately an hour, with an equal time reserved for you in our recovery area.
We understand that patients can feel anxiety in advance of this and other forms of oral surgery. Before your appointment, we will provide detailed instructions as well as helpful background information on the procedure to make the entire process easier. Our team excels at providing oral surgery because they produce quality results and take the comfort of every patient seriously!
Patients who receive intravenous anesthesia should not eat or drink six hours prior to their procedure. Make sure you follow any medication schedule you are given before treatment, and remember that you must have a driver who can take you home after receiving intravenous anesthesia.
On the day of the procedure, wear loose, comfortable clothing with sleeves that can be easily rolled up to your procedure. Any intraoral jewelry should be removed, as well as large hoop or dangling earrings. Long hair should be pulled back and away from your face.
When your surgery is over, you will spend between 30-60 minutes in our recovery room; your driver or other responsible party can join you at this time. A nurse or surgical assistant will be on hand to monitor your recovery and provide a detailed printed list of postoperative instructions. You will also take home a special care package that contains an ice pack and extra gauze.
After wisdom tooth surgery, you may be asked to bite on gauze to help control postoperative bleeding. An ice pack applied to the sides of your face will help with swelling that can occur in the first 48 hours after your procedure. Your surgeon will prescribe medication to alleviate the discomfort you feel after having your wisdom teeth removed.
Patients are advised to set aside at least 2-3 days of rest after their appointment. Initially, your diet will consist of clear liquids, followed by a soft diet for the next few days. Fluids are to be taken without a straw for the next two weeks, as using a straw can dislodge the clot that forms over the extraction site and cause bleeding.
Gentle cleansing of the mouth can begin the next day with saline rinses. Tobacco products, hard and crumbly food, and vigorous rinsing or exercise are to be avoided during the first few days after surgery, as these activities interfere with and/or delay the healing process. Within a week of your wisdom teeth extraction, we will bring you in for a postoperative review.
Our surgeons are here to provide expert maintenance and surgical care of wisdom teeth, from simple extractions to complex surgical procedures. Wisdom teeth management is essential for optimal oral health. To set up a consult with our experienced team, contact Berks Oral Surgery today at 610-374-4093.