Oral Surgery and Wisdom Teeth
Frequently Asked Questions
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth (3rd molars) are the last four teeth to develop and erupt, typically coming in during the teenage years. While removal of wisdom teeth is not always necessary, it is frequently needed for a variety of reasons. Extraction of wisdom teeth can prevent disease and help preserve a straight smile.
Why do some wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Some people having plenty of room in their mouths for the wisdom teeth to fully erupt and function as a “normal tooth”. However, most people do NOT have enough room. This lack of space results in wisdom teeth being “impacted” or “partially erupted” in a variety of ways. When there isn’t enough room for your wisdom teeth, the following problems can occur:
- Pain, swelling, infection, and tooth decay. It is very common for the tooth decay to affect not only the wisdom tooth, but also the tooth IN FRONT of the wisdom tooth – and the patient ends up losing both teeth instead of just one.
- Pericoronitis – a painful inflammation of the gums that cover a partially erupted wisdom tooth. This pain can radiate from the jaw up to the temple and down to the neck causing intense discomfort.
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Uncleansable area of the mouth that traps food and bacteria
- Growth of a Cyst around the wisdom tooth.
- Wisdom teeth can cause pressure on surrounding teeth causing discomfort and mal-alignment of other teeth.
Extraction of potentially problematic wisdom teeth ideally allows patients to PREVENT these issues from occurring. This procedure is very common and is considered a milestone of growth and development for most teenagers.
Why should wisdom teeth be removed at an early age rather than waiting until they are a problem?
Having your wisdom teeth removed while you are younger (teens or early 20s) is a much more comfortable experience than having them removed as an adult. The longer you wait, the more difficult it can be to remove the teeth. At a young age, the wisdom teeth are not fully developed – so they can be removed easier, allowing the patient to heal faster. As we get older the wisdom teeth get larger and the surrounding jawbone becomes denser.
It is ALWAYS better to pro-actively remove the wisdom teeth before they become a problem than to wait and have an emergency situation where a wisdom tooth is painful and infected. If a wisdom tooth is symptomatic, it increases the chances of post-operative complications such as dry-socket.
What can you expect when having your wisdom teeth removed?
One of our doctors will see you for an initial consultation where they will evaluate your wisdom teeth and discuss the procedure in detail. If an updated (within the last year) panoramic image is not available, one will be taken at this visit to radiographically evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth. The sedation consult will be completed, along with a detailed review of your health history and medications. Our goal is to answer all of your questions so that you are completely comfortable with your upcoming surgery.
What type of sedation is used for wisdom tooth surgery?
The large majority of patients (90%+) choose to be sedated for their surgery. The typical type of sedation used is called a Moderate Conscious Sedation (twilight sleep) – which can be provided via Oral or IV routes. Sedation provides a very comfortable experience for the patient during the surgery, as well as an improved post-operative experience. Our doctors have more than 75 years combined experience with sedation and are committed to providing safe dental treatment.
What is Advanced Platelet Rich Fibrin and how can it help me heal faster from my surgery?
Mint Hill Dentistry is one of the few dental offices in the greater Charlotte area to offer this technology. Platelet Rich Fibrin (PRF) is utilized in the lower wisdom tooth sockets to help prevent dry socket, and to decrease pain and swelling after surgery. The dentist completes a blood draw and spins the blood down in a special centrifuge. The centrifuge creates a “super-charged blood clot” that is full of the patient’s own growth factors and healing factors, including live immune cells to fight infection. The PRF clot is placed back into the lower sockets prior to suturing. “Dry socket” gets its name because it occurs when the blood clot is lost prematurely when healing from an extraction. By using PRF, the incidence of dry socket is greatly reduced.