Wisdom Teeth

By the age of eighteen, the average adult has 32 teeth; 16 teeth on the top and 16 teeth on the bottom. Each tooth in the mouth has a specific name and function. The teeth in the front of the mouth (incisors, canine and bicuspid teeth) are ideal for grasping and biting food into smaller pieces. The back teeth or molar teeth are used to grind food up into a consistency suitable for swallowing.

The average mouth is made to hold only 28 teeth. It can be painful when 32 teeth try to fit in a mouth that holds only 28 teeth. These four other teeth are your Third Molars, also known as “wisdom teeth.”

Why Should I Remove My Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt within the mouth. When they align properly and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth may not always have to be removed. Unfortunately, this does not generally happen. They are so far to the back of the mouth that keeping them clean can be a real problem. The removal of wisdom teeth is necessary when they are prevented from properly erupting within the mouth. They may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum and even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. Impacted teeth ( those trapped under the bone or gums ) can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to erupt successfully.

Wisdom Teeth Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of wisdom teeth, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to wisdom teeth are discussed.

Wisdom Teeth Presentation

These poorly positioned impacted teeth can cause many problems. When they are partially erupted, the opening around the tooth allows bacteria to grow and will eventually cause an infection. The result: swelling, stiffness, pain and illness. These bacteria often are the source of dental decay, many times involving the good 2nd molar teeth. The pressure from the erupting wisdom tooth may also damage the 2nd molar immediately in front of it. Although talked about a lot, disruption of normal alignment of the rest of the teeth probably does not happen. The most serious problem occurs when tumors or cysts form around the impacted wisdom tooth, resulting in the destruction of the jawbone and healthy teeth. Removal of the offending impacted tooth or teeth usually resolves these problems. Early removal is recommended to avoid such future problems and to decrease the surgical risk involved with the procedure. There is also mounting evidence that chronic infection – low grade- around wisdom teeth can cause other systemic problems due to inflammation.

Oral Examination

With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, Dr. Buche can evaluate the position of the wisdom teethand determine present problems or predict future difficulties. Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a superior outcome for the patient. Patients are generally first evaluated in the mid- teenage years by their dentist, orthodontist or by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. There is no doubt that early removal of wisdom teeth, from age l6 to 21, leads to far fewer complications and an easier healing period. However, sometimes we just cannot pick the time when we need them out!

All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize patient comfort. Dr. Buche has the training, license and experience to provide the right kind of anesthesia for patients undergoing wisdom tooth removal. These services are provided in an environment of optimum safety which utilizes modern monitoring equipment. Dr. Buche’s trained surgical staff personnel will help make your anesthesia experience a pleasant one.