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 Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are usually the last four of 32 teeth to appear in the mouth, generally making their way through between the ages of 17 to 25. They are located at the very back of the mouth (top and bottom).

In many cases, inadequate space in the mouth does not allow the wisdom teeth to surface properly and become fully functional. When this happens, the tooth can become impacted (stuck) in an undesirable or potentially harmful position. If left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth can contribute to infection, damage to other teeth, and possibly cysts or other pathology.

There are several types, or degrees, of impaction based on the actual depth of the teeth within the jaw:

 

Soft Tissue Impaction: The upper portion of the tooth has penetrated through the bone, but the gingiva (gum) is covering the upper part or all of the tooth. Because it is difficult to keep the area clean, food can become trapped below the gum and bacteria can cause an infection and/or tooth decay, resulting in pain and swelling.

Partial Bony Impaction: The tooth has partially erupted, but a portion of the crown remains submerged below the gum and surrounding jawbone. Again, because it is difficult to keep the area clean, infection can commonly occur.

Complete Bony Impaction: The tooth is completely encased by jawbone. This can require more complex removal techniques, often performed by an oral surgeon.

  Wisdom teeth examination 

As with any dental procedure, Dr. McIntyre will want to initially conduct a thorough examination of the wisdom and surrounding teeth. Panoramic or digital X-rays may be taken in order to evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and determine if a current problem exists, or the likelihood of any potential future problems. Radiographs can also diagnose additional risk factors, such as decay of nearby teeth. Early evaluation and treatment can identify potential problems and improve the results for patients requiring wisdom teeth removal. Only after a thorough examination can Dr. McIntyre provide you with the best options for your particular case.

 What does the removal of wisdom teeth involve? 

Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure, generally performed under local anesthesia, sedation, or general anesthesia. The surgery does not require an overnight stay, and you will be provided with post-operative instructions and medication (if necessary), to help manage any swelling or discomfort.