wisdom_teethIt seems that every day I see someone who needs to have their wisdom teeth removed at My Family Dentistry in Powell, TN.  What are wisdom teeth?  Why do dentist want to remove them?  Do I need surgery to remove my wisdom teeth?  How much school or work will I miss when I have my wisdom teeth extracted?  Are there any complications? These are some of the question we’ll be happy to assist you with.

Wisdom teeth or third molars are found in the human mouth.  These teeth have been referred to as wisdom teeth because they erupt at an age when people tend to be much “wiser”. 

At the age of 10-12 a panoramic x-ray is taken to find out if a person is developing wisdom teeth and if there is a need for the extraction.  In some cases dentist do not recommend wisdom teeth removal, but if there is not enough room for the third molars to fully erupt, and if there is decay or infection, we do recommend the removal.

Wisdom teeth sometimes are impacted, which means that the teeth are encased in bone or tissue.  In this case we recommend addressing a certified oral surgeon to perform the extraction.  Sometimes patients are sedated to provide the maximum comfort during the procedure, but in most cases wisdom teeth can be removed with just the use of local anesthetics.  Your dentist will refer you to a specialist based on your needs and the level of comfort you require during the procedure.

Each patient is different, but typical recovery time takes a couple of days of light duty and soft foods.  After one week patients typically report no pain or problems.  We always recommend planning for a few days of down time, because with any surgery there can be complications.

Pain is the first most common complication, but it usually stops in a few days.  Modern techniques and preoperative steroids have dramatically reduced the need for pain medicine. Dry socket is another possible complication. It occurs when blood clots prematurely fall out or don’t form prior to healing.  This can be extremely painful and requires a follow-up dental visit and treatment.  Immediate relief is fast, so seek your dentist as soon as you think you may have a problem. 

If you have more questions about dental extractions and wisdom teeth please leave a comment below. 

Dr. Wesley S. Mullins is a practicing dentist in Powell and Knoxville, TN who has advanced training in dental care.  

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