Wisdom teeth are types of molars found in the very back of your mouth. These teeth usually appear in late teens or early twenties but may become impacted (fail to erupt) due to lack of room in the jaw or angle of entry. The most common type of impacted wisdom tooth is “mesial”, meaning that the tooth is angled forward toward the front of your mouth.
When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it may need to be removed. If it is not removed, you may develop gum tenderness, swelling, or even severe pain. Impacted wisdom teeth that are partially or fully erupted tend to be quite difficult to clean and are susceptible to tooth decay, recurring infections, and even gum disease.
Each patient's situation is unique. Our dental assistant will usually take a panoramic X-ray to determine if your wisdom teeth will need to be removed. If Dr. Yao recommends removal of your wisdom teeth, it is best to have them removed sooner rather than later.
Wisdom teeth are typically removed in the late teens or early twenties because there is a greater chance that the teeth's roots have not fully formed and the bone surrounding the teeth is less dense. These two factors can make extraction easier, as well as making the recovery time much shorter.
In order to remove a wisdom tooth, Dr. Yao first needs to numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. He can use additional medication to safely sedate you during the extraction if you are feeling nervous about the procedure. Since the impacted tooth may still be under the gums and imbedded in your jaw bone, Dr. Yao will need to remove a portion of the covering bone to extract the tooth. In order to minimize the amount of bone that is removed with the tooth, he will often “section” your wisdom tooth so that each piece can be removed through a small opening in the bone.
Once your wisdom teeth have been extracted, the healing process begins. Healing time varies depending on the degree of difficulty related to the extraction. Dr. Yao will share with you what to expect and provide instructions for a comfortable, efficient healing process.