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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 do not have to be removed.  Unfortunately, this does not generally happen. The extraction 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 can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to erupt successfully.

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. The pressure from an erupting wisdom tooth may move the other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth. In more serious cases the erupting wisdom tooth may resorb the back of the next tooth (second molar). The most serious problem occurs when 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.

Oral Examination:

With an oral examination and a full mouth radiograph, Dr. Evans can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there may be present or future problems. Patients are generally first evaluated anywhere from about 12 years of age onwards by their dentist, orthodontist or by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

Removal:

In most cases, the removal of wisdom teeth is performed under general anesthesia at our Accredited Day Stay facility. However for suitable cases the procedure can be carried out under local anaesthesia with or without sedation in Dr. Evans’s rooms. These options, as well as the surgical risks (i.e. sensory nerve damage, sinus complications etc.) will be discussed with you before the procedure is performed. Following surgery you will be provided with some detailed post-operative instructions that can also be seen in the surgical instructions section of this website.

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