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 usually holds only 28 teeth. It can be quite painful when 32 teeth try to fit in a mouth that does not have the space for them. These four other teeth are your Third Molars, also known as "wisdom teeth."
Have questions about your anesthesia experience, click on this video to hear about what an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon can do for you:
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 may eventually cause an unnoticed "cavity" leading to an infection later. The result: swelling, stiffness, pain and illness. The pressure from the erupting wisdom tooth may move other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth. 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.
Recent research has shown that wisdom teeth harbor bacteria that can lead to gum disease 10-15 years later. Other studies have linked the infection and inflammation that these bacteria cause to premature births, diabetes and heart disease. Ongoing studies hope to shine more light on these very serious issues.
Please click on this link to read the information available on wisdom teeth from the Americal Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons:
With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, Dr. Cardona-Rohena can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there may be present or future problems. Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a superior outcome and faster recovery for the patient. Patients are generally first evaluated in the mid- teenage years by their dentist, orthodontist or by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
In most cases, the removal of wisdom teeth is performed under conscious sedation ("twilight sleep") or general anesthesia. These options as well as the surgical risks will be discussed with you at the time of your pre-operative consultation. Once the teeth are removed, the gum is sutured to avoid "dry sockets" and for faster healing. You will be recovered under our supervision in the office until you are ready to be taken home. Upon discharge, your post-operative kit will include postoperative instructions, a prescription for pain medication, antibiotics if necessary and a follow-up appointment in one week. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at 678-835-1135.
Our services are provided in an environment of optimum safety that utilizes modern monitoring equipment and staff that are experienced in anesthesia techniques. All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize patient comfort.