Each year, oral surgeons consult with millions of Americans because they need their wisdom teeth removed. Also called our “third molars,” wisdom teeth removal is one of the major dental treatment milestones for teens and young adults.
Wisdom Teeth Removal
Depending on the patient, the appearance of your wisdom teeth can be unnoticeable or uncomfortable. For most patients working with a dentist or maxillofacial surgeon, the development of your wisdom tooth begins getting tracked in early adolescence; that way your oral surgeon can monitor your tooth development to make sure your wisdom teeth are coming in correctly.
Although it is easy for your oral surgeon to monitor the development of your wisdom teeth, approximately 87% of people who don’t seek treatment for their wisdom teeth have at least one impacted tooth throughout the course of their lifetime.
Why do we have wisdom teeth anyway?
Wisdom teeth are one of the last genetic legacies of our earliest ancestors. Naturally, the diet of our ancient ancestors included rougher, coarser foods like raw meats, nuts, leaves, and roots, that required an extra set of molars to aid work of digestion.
Because our ancestors were also equipt with larger jaws able to accommodate their extra teeth the issue of wisdom tooth impaction didn’t come about until humans evolved. As societies developed we started cooking meals and cutting food into smaller pieces; in response to the new demands of our existence, our jaws became smaller.
For those patients who cannot comfortably allow their wisdom teeth to erupt, waiting for the pain to appear before addressing these potential issues can result in serious problems after surgery.
Why an oral surgeon should monitor your wisdom tooth growth
One of the biggest mistakes patients make is to wait until their mouth and gums are in agony before seeking out medical attention. If you have put off getting your wisdom teeth looked act because you aren’t in pain, you may be inadvertently causing yourself more discomfort in the long run.
According to the American Journal of Public Health, around 5 million patients undergo wisdom tooth extraction in the United States of America alone. Wisdom tooth extractions account for more than $3 billion in procedure costs each year, and the number just keeps increasing.
Wisdom teeth typically begin ‘erupting’ between 17 to 25. For many patients, these teeth become stuck—or impacted—on their way out. When you come in for your initial surgery consultation, our staff and surgeons will take a digital x-ray of your mouth and jaws to determine if your wisdom teeth are impacted; if there is room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth to erupt; and what the procedure will entail.
“I would definitely recommend this place! I just got my wisdom teeth pulled out and like anyone very nervous! But from the staff to Dr. Holtzen I had no reason to feel uncomfortable, just my nerves! They answered any questions I had and was just very nice. Even the front desk!I’m glad I had a great experience! Thank you for taking care of me!”
Kristine F. / Review Posted on Yelp.com
3 kinds of impacted teeth
- Soft tissue impaction: When there isn’t enough room in your mouth to allow your gum tissue to retract and allow adequate cleaning of the tooth.
- Partial bony impaction: When there is just enough space for the wisdom tooth to erupt through your gum tissue partially, but the tooth cannot function properly. Patients typically experience discomfort while chewing and have difficulty cleaning the tooth, among other problems.
- Complete Bony Impaction: When there is absolutely no space in your mouth for the tooth to erupt. Instead, the tooth remains embedded within your jawbone. In some cases, even if the tooth becomes partially visible, the extreme angle of the eruption necessitates the implementation of more sophisticated or involved surgical techniques.
Because the removal of your wisdom teeth is dependent on individual factors like your jaw size and shape may mean that your impacted wisdom tooth erupts in unusual positions that are difficult to remove.
That’s why our board-certified oral surgeons perform all maxillofacial surgeries digitally before the actual procedure; we want to ensure a safe and seamless wisdom tooth extraction for every single one of our patients.
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When is the right time for wisdom tooth extraction?
With more than 40 years of collective experience and training, our team of board certified oral surgeons has been trained to identify a host of potential problems when it comes to your wisdom tooth development. Some reasons your oral surgeon might recommend wisdom teeth removal for your dental health:
- Damage to surrounding teeth: In extreme cases, your third molars can push against your other teeth, causing dental discomfort and bite issues
- Jaw damage: Cysts can form around your new teeth before they break through your jaw. When left untreated, the cysts hollow out your jaw bone and cause nerve damage if not caught in time.
- Sinus issues: Wisdom teeth issues have been linked to sinus pain, pressure, and congestion.
- Inflamed gums: The gums surrounding your wisdom teeth can become inflamed, swollen, and difficult to clean; this can lead to an infection if not treated.
- Cavities: Swollen gums create pockets between teeth that help bacteria grow and cavities to form; if left untreated this can lead to tooth decay, tooth loss, and even gum disease.
- Alignment issues: Impacted wisdom teeth can cause your other teeth to shift. In extreme cases, this requires the expertise of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to address.
What to Expect during Your Wisdom Tooth Removal
Depending on how many wisdom teeth you are having removed, the length of your wisdom tooth procedure will vary; during your consultation, your oral surgeon will review your medical history and x-rays to determine how long your procedure will take and what your pre and post-op experiences will look like. Typically, extracting all four wisdom teeth takes around one hour.
The day of your wisdom tooth extraction
As one of the most common and routine procedures performed by our team, wisdom tooth extractions are almost always out patient procedures. Depending on your level of anxiety and discomfort, your oral surgeon will go over your anesthesia options before the procedure.
As licensed oral and maxillofacial surgeons, our doctors can practice sedation dentistry to ensure our patients’ comfort throughout their procedure.
Your anesthesia options
- Inhaled sedation: The only form of sedation you can have and still be able to drive afterward.
- Oral sedation: Administered orally, this form of anesthesia range from minimal to moderate.
- IV sedation. You receive sedatives intravenously but can be easily awoken.
- Deep sedation: Requires the administration of a general anesthetic which will take time to wear off.
Regardless of the kind of sedation you choose, your oral surgeon will also apply pain medication to the extraction site to protect you from any additional pain that might arise during or after your procedure.
Your wisdom tooth removal
After the patient is sedated, your oral surgeon will make an incision in your gum to expose the wisdom tooth and part of your jaw bone. Your oral surgeon will then remove all the bone blocking access to the tooth; once the tooth is maneuverable, it is removed along with any debris. Your oral surgeon will then clean the extraction site, stitch the wound and begin working on the next tooth.
Waking up after your dental procedure
After your procedure, as the sedation or local anesthetic begins to wear off you will be taken to a recovery room, where you can comfortably and gently wake up. Some patients feel the effects of local anesthetics all day, which is why we recommend making travel arrangements or taking advantage of our concierge services after your procedure.
Caring and Experienced Las Vegas Oral Surgeons
Las Vegas wisdom teeth removals are some of the most common procedures performed in our offices. When you come in for your wisdom tooth consultation, our doctors will determine what course of treatment is right for your dental health.
Whether you are an ideal wisdom tooth extraction candidate or require the expertise of a board-certified oral surgeon, Nevada Oral and Facial Surgery has the staff and resources to treat your wisdom teeth effectively and painless. Call us today to schedule your wisdom tooth consultation today.
WHAT OUR PATIENTS SAY
“Everyone is extremely helpful, kind and very courteous. I will always recommend this facility because of their professionalism and quality dental work and excellence.”
“My overall experience at Nevada Oral & Facial Surgery was outstanding. I was very nervous about my procedure and Dr.Johnson and his wonderful staff assured me that everything would be just fine. The surgery went as promised and I have no complaints about the entire experience. Thank you all at Nevada Oral & Facial Surgery for everything.”
“I just had all of my wisdom teeth removed here. I had a GREAT experience! The staff was very friendly. I was nervous coming in and they were very accommodating to my worries. I was put under for the procedure. When I woke up, I wasn’t in pain and again, the staff was very nice and answered all of my questions. Recovery has been very pleasant. They did a wonderful job! I can’t recommend this place enough!”
“It was fantastic! How many people can say that about oral surgery? Dr. Johnson, Brittany and everyone I came in contact with was the best. I would never hesitate to say how great my experience was. Thanks Dr. Johnson and staff.”