Wisdom teeth is just a term that describes your third molars, the last teeth to develop and the furthest back in your mouth. Because they typically grow between the middle-teenage years and early twenties, they are associated with the attainment of wisdom, hence wisdom teeth.
What is an Impacted Tooth?
An impacted tooth is one that is blocked from erupting (fully developing) because the jaw is too small to accommodate its growth. Most people develop 32 permanent adult teeth, but many of us do not have the capacity for wisdom teeth to fully grow without affecting the rest of the structure and function of our mouth and jaw.
Types of Impactions
Impactions may present themselves in many ways and have a range of effects of the body. The types of impactions include:
- Soft-tissue impaction: gum tissue is prevented from retracting for proper cleaning and care of the tooth.
- Partial Bony Impaction: the wisdom tooth can partially erupt, but cannot aid the chewing process and may create complications in cleaning, eating, speaking and the alignment of your teeth.
- Complete Bony Impaction: there is absolutely no space for the tooth to erupt, leaving it embedded in the jawbone and very difficult to remove. This impaction often rests in an unusual position and requires complex surgical techniques for extraction.
Why Remove Your Wisdom Teeth?
If you allow impacted molars to remain in your mouth without room to erupt, problems may arise with your speech, the function of your mouth and jaw, infection and possibly more serious conditions. It is recommended that wisdom teeth are removed before their roots are fully formed for ease of extraction and to prevent further complications.
Some conditions that may result from impacted wisdom teeth include:
- Infection: The most common clinical problem that results from impacted teeth is periocoronitis, a localized gum infection. While the wisdom teeth put pressure on the gums but do not have room to erupt, irritation and infection ensue beneath the surface and cause pain, swelling and complications with chewing and swallowing.
- Cyst Formation: Fluid-filled cysts often form inside the jawbone as a result of impacted teeth. These cysts may begin to expand and destroy the structure of your jaw and teeth. These cysts may be very detrimental to your health and difficult to treat if your wisdom teeth are not removed in your teenage years. Although uncommon, tumors may be caused by delayed removal of wisdom teeth.
- Possible Crowding: Often, impacted teeth cause crowding that is most easily noticed with the front teeth and most commonly seen in patients who have previously had braces. Teeth in the back begin to feel pressure from the wisdom teeth and shift forward, trying to create space. This will cause your front teeth to begin to protrude or crowd, an unfortunate circumstance after you have already had braces. If the teeth are not removed, they may cause long-term damage to your jaw, gums and other teeth.
- Damage to Adjacent Teeth: If a wisdom tooth is preventing you from being able to properly clean the adjacent teeth, gum disease, bone loss and/or decay may occur.
Step 1: Oral Examination
You may have already been told by your dentist that you should have your wisdom teeth removed, but in order to determine the level to which the tooth is impacted and predict whether there are present of future potential problems with keeping or removing the tooth or teeth, Dr. Elias will perform a full oral examination and x-ray of the mouth. Following this exam, you will meet with Dr. Elias to discuss your condition, what happens during surgery and rules for a safe and quick recovery. He will be available to answer all of your questions at any time from your consultation until you are fully healed.
Wisdom teeth removal is an outpatient surgery performed in our office under a dose of anesthesia discussed during your consultation. Based on your comfort level, Dr. Elias will help you decide the level of sedation ideal for performing your surgery. On the procedure day, you will be given medications to help regulate pain and swelling following the surgery. It is essential that a parent or responsible adult drives you to the office and remains with you the rest of the day. The procedure only lasts 30-60 minutes, and you will most likely only be in the office for a total of 90 minutes.
Dr. Elias uses state-of-the-art technology and methodology to make your wisdom teeth removal as smooth as possible, and your post-operative healing as quick as possible.
Refer to our Before Anesthesia page for pre-operative instructions and Post-Operative Care to learn about what you might expect following surgery. Dr. Elias will go through these in detail with you prior to your procedure.
What Does it Cost & is it Covered by Insurance?
Your wisdom teeth removal cost is dependent on the number of teeth being removed, the level of impacting and the type of anesthesia you choose. You will be provided with an estimation during your consultation, after each of these factors has been addressed and discussed.
Insurance coverage varies by company; our staff will work with you to obtain the maximum amount of coverage for your surgery.
To schedule your consultation for wisdom tooth removal, contact our offices at 818-696-4425.