Wisdom Teeth: A Guide for Parents and Patients
You’ve been told you need your wisdom teeth out. What’s next?
The removal of wisdom teeth is a routine procedure in our office, but it probably doesn’t feel that way to you. For many of our patients, just hearing the words “surgery” and “extraction” tends to bring up some fears. Dr. Grant and Dr. Mergelmeyer and the CORE Team want you to know that wisdom teeth extraction are safe and comfortable.
What are wisdom teeth, anyway?
We each get three sets of molars during our lifetime. The first molars arrive at age six, the second at age 12, and the third molars develop during the late teens and early twenties. Because it is during this age that children become wiser and transition into adulthood, we refer to the “third molars” as “wisdom teeth”.
Why do they need to be pulled?
Your mouth was designed to hold 28 teeth, not 32. By the time your wisdom teeth start to grow, those 28 slots are already filled, making it difficult for them to grow in properly. That’s why 9 out of 10 people find themselves with at least one impacted wisdom tooth that requires extraction. Even when properly positioned, wisdom teeth can easily become infected, and are at risk for cysts and tumors (see “The Trouble with Wisdom Teeth”, below).
With wisdom teeth, everything is timing.
You may have noticed that many of your friends are having their wisdom teeth pulled out too. Why? There happens to be an optimal (yet fleeting) opportunity between the ages of 15-20 when the tooth roots haven’t fully formed yet. Thus, the risk of damaging nearby nerves, bones and teeth during this time is significantly less.
Choosing the Right Oral Surgeon for your Child
As oral surgery specialists with extensive training and experience, we, at the Center for Oral Reconstruction & Education are able to offer a different kind of “wisdom teeth experience” to our patients and their families. We are with you every step of the way and pay extra attention to the most critical parts of your child’s care, including:
- Anesthesia with a variety of options available.
- Compassion and comfort to make the experience as pleasant as possible.
- Home care and after-hours contact information.
- A thoughtful surgical strategy to minimize the need for invasive techniques.
- Careful consideration of timing to ensure the easiest recovery possible.
The Cost of Wisdom Teeth Removal
The cost of wisdom teeth removal varies depending on several circumstances (positioning, level of impaction, number of teeth) that are unique to your teen’s case. We will discuss all costs with you upfront and help you determine whether your insurance offers any benefits for the procedure.
The Cost of Waiting
Because it is so common for wisdom teeth to cause problems, such as infection, pain, damage to neighboring teeth and, in rare circumstances, cysts and tumors, it is generally recognized as standard practice to remove them during the late teens and early twenties, before the roots have fully developed. Waiting to remove them increases the likelihood of problems and complications down the road.
Complications of Wisdom Tooth Removal
As with any surgical procedure, there are some possible complications associated with the removal of the third molars. However, since the procedure has been very well tested, these complications (nerve injuries, fractures and injury to the joint) are very rare, and, if the surgery is performed at an early age, the risk is even less.
The Trouble with Wisdom Teeth
Are you still feeling unsure? Consider this: Wisdom teeth that are not removed can cause the following problems throughout your life:
- Infection: Your gums can become infected, a condition known as “pericoronitis”, due to the wisdom teeth unsuccessfully trying to push through the gum tissue. This can recur periodically and causes pain, swelling and problems swallowing.
- Cysts and Benign Tumors: Cysts are fluid-filled pockets that can form inside the jawbone when wisdom teeth are impacted. They can be very damaging and difficult to treat as they destroy jawbone and even neighboring teeth.
- Crowding and Alignment Issues: It should be no surprise that impacted wisdom teeth crowd your smile, causing misalignment issues, even if you have had braces.
- Damage to Nearby Teeth: Wisdom teeth are notorious for damaging their neighbors by making it difficult to practice good hygiene in the area. This often results in decay, gum disease and sometimes bone loss.
If you have been putting off wisdom teeth surgery, give us a call at Center for Oral Reconstruction & Education Phone Number 714-771-7677. We can provide you with the calm, safe, comfortable experience you are looking for.
To read more about wisdom teeth view our informative pages below.
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.
Center for Oral Reconstruction & Education
Our Latest Patient Testimonial
From the moment I walked in the door, I had no fear! The team at CORE treated me with respect and kindness, educating me on every single step of the process to ensure I felt comfortable about the procedure I had done. Even during the procedure (I chose to be awake), I was coached along along each step of the way. All team members are experts in their positions, and they are truly a cohesive team that ensures every patient leaves happy and smiling (literally).
- James M