We have all seen someone who has just gotten their wisdom teeth removed, and what we most associate with this procedure are the “chipmunk cheeks” and temporary liquid diet our friends have had to endure. How many of us actually know what wisdom teeth are and why this surgery is so popular and important? It turns out, very few!

Most of our patients who come in for wisdom tooth removal are unaware of the reasons these teeth are not welcome in our mouths! If you have been told you need your wisdom teeth removed, it is important to know why. Keep yourself informed and maybe boost your excitement (or willingness) for the procedure with this breakdown of wisdom teeth wisdom.

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are simply impacted third molars. An impacted tooth is one that is unable to erupt, or fully grow through the gum. For most of us, this impaction is caused by a lack of space in the mouth for this tooth to fully grow in. Therefore, as the molar begins to attempt to erupt, it may cause pressure on the adjacent teeth and begin to shift your bite. Many patients experience soreness, crowding causing the front teeth to protrude, misaligned bite or even infection and cysts in more extreme cases. This is why it is so important to have your wisdom teeth removed before they cause major damage to your mouth.

Because wisdom teeth are the furthest back in the mouth and the last adult teeth to form, they can have a great affect on your already formed bite, especially if braces have already been used to correct your arch. The cost of re-correcting damage that wisdom teeth cause to your now-perfect smile is not ideal, and the sooner these teeth are removed, the better you can preserve the shape of your bite.

What Can I Expect From Surgery?

Wisdom tooth removal surgery is very common, and Dr. Elias has performed them countless times, but it is still important to know that this is a surgical procedure and safety is your number one priority through the entire process.

When you come in for your consultation, Dr. Elias will perform a full examination to determine how he will approach the surgery. Then, he will explain everything to you, the process, the anesthesia and the costs associated. He wants you to feel completely comfortable with your surgery.

Dr. Elias will discuss with you the anesthesia options for the surgery, some surgeries can be performed under local anesthesia, others will need to be performed under deep sedation or general anesthesia. The surgery typically takes 45-60 minutes, after which you are free to go home with a parent or trusted adult. As you may know from experience with friends and family, you will experience swelling, pain and soreness over the next few days, but it is important to follow after-care instructions to alleviate these symptoms. We insist that you follow the directions Dr. Elias gives you and not take advice from friends and family, as every mouth is different, and he will be able to guide you to treating your unique case with care.

Possibly Your Most Burning Question…

Why are wisdom teeth called wisdom teeth? Well, because they typically grow between your mid-teenage years and mid-twenties, they are often associated with attaining wisdom, hence wisdom teeth. Doctors have a sense of humor too, you know!

If you have been advised by your dentist or your orthodontist to have your wisdom teeth removed or are experiencing soreness in your jaw or bite shifting, contact the Southern California Center for Surgical Arts to schedule a consultation for your procedure: (818) 696-4425.