If you need wisdom teeth removed, Arizona Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons in Tucson, AZ, can help. Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars to grow in the mouth. They usually finish growing in during your teens or early twenties, after all of the other adult teeth have developed. Wisdom teeth are positioned at the very back of the mouth. If there is not enough space behind the second molars, wisdom teeth can become trapped beneath the gums. There usually isn’t enough space for wisdom teeth to grow into a healthy position, which is why most people must visit an oral surgeon to have their wisdom teeth extracted.
Should I have my wisdom teeth removed?
Not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth removed. If your teeth are growing in straight without damaging any surrounding teeth or tissues, they may not need removal. The absence of pain, however, does not mean that your wisdom teeth are developing normally. Having an oral exam with your dentist or oral surgeon is the only way to know whether your wisdom teeth are in a healthy position. Waiting for pain or other symptoms of wisdom teeth can cause a variety of oral health problems:
- Impaction refers to teeth that are partially or fully trapped beneath the gums and/or bone. Impacted wisdom teeth can easily cause infections, dental crowding, or other problems.
- Damage to adjacent teeth can occur when wisdom teeth crowd against the roots of the adjacent second molars.
- Infections of the tissue surrounding wisdom teeth are also common. When wisdom teeth only erupt partially, space is created in the gums where bacteria can get trapped and cause an infection in the bone or soft tissue around the teeth.
- Cysts and tumors can also develop about impacted teeth that are not removed. These cysts can cause serious bone damage if left untreated.
Luckily, most of these problems are avoidable for patients who attend regular dental checkups to track the progress of their wisdom teeth while they grow in. If your wisdom teeth have already started causing problems, don’t panic! Our oral surgeons in Tucson, AZ, have experience treating wisdom teeth problems at any stage of the growth process.
When should wisdom teeth be removed?
People’s teeth develop at different rates. Some people start developing wisdom teeth as early as age 12, while in others these teeth don’t develop them until the late teens or early twenties. The only way to know whether your wisdom teeth are ready for removal is to have a dental exam with a professional. Most dental professionals recommend having wisdom teeth removed before they develop roots and emerge through the gums — usually sometime between ages 13 and 20. Surgery at this stage of development is generally easier for the patient and associated with fewer risks.
When you schedule your wisdom teeth removal, try to do it before a long weekend or during a break from school or work so that you have a few days to rest and recover.
Wisdom Teeth Surgery
After your oral exam and consultation with your surgeon, you will be scheduled for wisdom teeth removal surgery. You will have a chance to discuss any questions about the surgery with your doctor during the consultation. Your surgeon will also give you pre-operative instructions to help you prepare for your procedure.
When you come in for surgery, a designated driver will need to bring you if IV anesthesia is a part of your treatment plan. Most patients undergo IV anesthesia during wisdom teeth removals for optimal comfort and safety. Once your anesthesia is administered, your oral surgeon will lift a small portion of the gums and bone tissue to reveal your wisdom teeth (if they are not already fully erupted). The teeth may be removed whole or sectioned into smaller pieces, depending on the size of the tooth. Once each tooth is removed, the surgical area will be sutured to promote faster healing. These sutures are usually dissolvable, so you won’t need to return to have them removed. You will rest in our office until your anesthesia wears off, then your driver will bring you home to recover.
Recovery is different for everyone, but patients are often back to their normal schedules within just a few days. The surgical sites will need to be kept clean for a couple of weeks until the empty tooth sockets heal fully. Usually, a soft foods diet is required for the first few days, but as you get more comfortable, you can begin incorporating harder foods back into your diet. Your surgeon will provide you with post-operative instructions and a prescription for any medications you’ll need to ensure that you are comfortable and prepared throughout the recovery process.
Wisdom Teeth in Tucson, AZ
If you or your child needs wisdom teeth removed, our staff is here to help. Our oral surgeons are trained and experienced at removing wisdom teeth in our advanced surgical facilities here in Tucson, AZ. Contact our office to schedule your consultation and start the process of having wisdom teeth removed.