Greg Miller DDS—Advanced Dental Care


Wisdom Tooth Removal

Many people wonder, “Why should I have my wisdom teeth removed?”

Why would anyone rid themselves of any extra wisdom — right? Actually, wisdom teeth are usually the last teeth to erupt in the mouth and typically emerge in the late teens or early twenties. When wisdom teeth align properly and the surrounding gum tissues are healthy, wisdom teeth do not need to be removed.

Unfortunately, this does not generally happen. The extraction of wisdom teeth is warranted when those teeth are prevented from properly erupting within the mouth. Wisdom teeth may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum or even remain trapped beneath the bone.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Pano

Impacted wisdom teeth can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to erupt. The pressure from the erupting wisdom tooth may move other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth.

wisdom removal cystThe most serious problem occurs when cysts form around the impacted wisdom tooth, resulting in destruction of the jawbone and healthy teeth.

wisdom removal infectionWhen wisdom teeth are partially erupted, the opening around the tooth allows bacteria to grow and will eventually cause an infection. Removal of the offending impacted wisdom tooth or teeth usually resolves these problems.

We can easily identify problem wisdom teeth with the advanced technology in our office including 3D CT Scan & Cone-Beam Digital Imaging.

3d impacted 3rd molars

Why Removing Wisdom Teeth during the Teenage Years is Important

During the late teenage years, the roots of the wisdom teeth are not fully developed and the surrounding bone is softer so there is less chance of damaging nearby nerves. This prevents future problems and decreases the surgical risk involved with the procedure.

Wisdom teeth removal nerve mappingRemoval of wisdom teeth at a later age can be done but it becomes more complicated because the roots have fully developed (may surround the nerve), and the jawbone is denser.

Wisdom teeth removal is a safe procedure. Having your wisdom teeth removed can improve your overall dental health for life. As many as 5 million Americans get their wisdom teeth extracted every year. The Cochrane Group, which reviews medical evidence, issued a report in 2006 and updated it in 2012 saying there's no strong evidence to oppose the routine removal of wisdom teeth.

In most cases, wisdom teeth removal is performed under IV sedation, laughing gas (nitrous oxide), or oral sedation and local anesthesia. With proper post-operative care, the extraction sites will heal quickly.