Wisdom Teeth Removal
Across the board, studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a superior outcome for the patient. Patients are generally first evaluated in the mid-teenage years by their dentist, orthodontist, or by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. It is recommended to have your wisdom teeth removed as a teenager or in your early twenties when your bone is softer, more pliable and you are able to recover faster. As you age, your bone becomes brittle as well as your teeth.
All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize patient comfort. Our doctors are trained, licensed, and highly experienced in providing various types of anesthesia for patients.
Why Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Wisdom teeth that have erupted straight, are in function (can chew food properly), have no decay and no pain do not need to be removed.
When you are in actual pain, the treatment plan to remove wisdom teeth is straight forward.
But when you are not in current pain, it is the duty of the oral surgeon to determine if the position of the tooth will become a problem and advise you on the treatment plan to remove the wisdom teeth as a preventative measure.
If you do not have enough room in your mouth for your third molars to fully erupt, a number of problems can happen.
Below is a panorex showing Wisdom teeth destroying the roots of the second molars:
The most frequent clinical problem we see is pericoronitis, (a localized gum infection). Without enough room for total eruption, the gum tissue around the wisdom tooth can become irritated and infected with trapped bacteria / food, resulting in recurrent pain, swelling, and problems with chewing and/or swallowing.
Non-infectious diseases may also arise in association with an impacted wisdom tooth. Cysts are fluid-filled “balloons” inside the jaw bone that develop as a result of impacted teeth and slowly expand destroying adjacent jaw bone and occasionally teeth. They can be very difficult to treat if your wisdom teeth are not removed in your teenage years. Although rare, tumors can be associated with the delayed removal of wisdom teeth.
Impacted wisdom teeth may contribute to crowding of your teeth. This is most noticeable with the front teeth, primarily the lower front teeth and is most commonly seen after a patient has had braces. There are a number of factors that cause teeth to crowd after braces or in early adulthood. Retained, impacted wisdom teeth may be a contributing factor. Unless you have an active problem when you see the oral surgeon, the reason for removal is primarily to prevent long-term damage to your teeth, gums and jaw bone.
Damage to Adjacent Teeth:
If there is inadequate room to clean around the wisdom tooth, the tooth directly in front, the second molar, can be adversely affected resulting in gum disease, bone loss around the tooth, and/or decay. As in the above Panorex, the second molar roots (which you want to keep forever) was eaten away by the wisdom teeth and resulted in loss of the second molar as well.
What if I Don’t Have my Wisdom Teeth Removed as a Teenager or Young Adult?
As wisdom teeth develop, the roots become longer and the jaw bone more dense.When it is necessary to remove impacted wisdom teeth in your thirties, forties or beyond, the post-operative course can be prolonged and there is a higher complication rate. Treating these complications is often more difficult and less predictable than with a younger patient. Healing may be slower and the chance of infection can be increased.
People often rationalize that they are not in pain, so why have the wisdom teeth remove? Commonly, this is regrettable, because pain indefinitely occurs as you age and it becomes more difficult to manage.
As trained oral surgery specialists, it is our job to decrease, and even eliminate the risks involved with wisdom teeth removal. It is our recommendation to have non functional wisdom teeth removed in the teenage years.
What Happens on the Day Wisdom Teeth are Removed?
Most people prefer to be unaware of the experience when they have their wisdom teeth removed and usually decide to be sedated. You will be provided with appropriate anesthesia options at your consultation. All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize your comfort. Our office staff has the training, licensing, and experience to provide the various types of anesthesia. These services are provided in an environment of optimum safety, utilizing modern monitoring equipment and a well trained experienced staff. The Surgical Care Team, the office facilities, and the doctors are inspected on behalf of the Board of Dental Examiners on a regular basis.
On the night before your procedure:
- with Local and Nitrous Gas Anesthesia: sleep well and have a light breakfast
- with IV sedation / General Anesthesia: sleep well and DO NOT EAT OR DRINK ANYTHING after midnight, not even ice cubes or chewing gum
On the morning of your procedure:
- brush your teeth and rinse your mouth without swallowing any liquid
- arrive at least 20 minutes early for check – in and pre-op
- have a responsible adult with you to drive you home
- wear short sleeved top and comfortable clothing
Night of your procedure, at home:
- rest quietly at home, sitting up with pillows behind your back
- do not eat or sleep with gauze in the mouth
- do not spit
- do not smoke
- eat soft foods that help bring back your appetite
- take your pain medication and antibiotics as directed
- call us with any concerns or questions at Houston Office Phone Number 713-439-7575
The Day of Treatment
Be sure to have an adult with you at the time of removal. Make plans to have a parent or responsible adult stay with you for the rest of the day, following wisdom tooth removal.
If your surgery requires stitches, these are usually the type that dissolve in 3 to 5 days and do not require removal. You may also notice a sensation of your gums feeling swollen and pulling away from your teeth. This is all part of the normal recovery and will subside in several days.
Once the local anesthesia wears off, you may require prescription pain medication. Please try non-narcotic anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Advil®) first, to see if that adequately treats your pain. If not, begin your other prescription pain medication. The local anesthesia may last until the following day, and should not be confused with an injury to your nerve. We recommend starting your post-operative diet with clear liquids such as jello and broths, gradually increasing in substance as your body permits.
What Does Wisdom Tooth Removal Cost And Is It Covered By Insurance?
Yes, wisdom teeth extraction is a very common procedure and very likely to be covered by your dental insurance. We are in contract with many PPO insurances which help pay for the procedure and most times, the anesthesia. Every insurance company has a different policy regarding the extent of coverage for a given surgical procedure. The oral surgeon’s office staff will help you obtain maximum insurance coverage for your treatment.
During your consultation appointment, the surgeon will need to review your x-rays, complete a clinical examination and determine the best option for anesthesia, before an accurate estimate can be provided.
You will be provided with an itemized cost schedule for your review and consent before any surgery is performed.
Every code used by our office is examined and verified by the insurance specialist.
What if I Have Questions Before Surgery?
At the time of your consultation, your specific situation will be discussed in greater detail. We encourage you to ask any questions you may have. If new questions arise after your consultation, please call our office at Houston Office Phone Number 713-439-7575 to speak to one of our patient care coordinators.
The Day of Treatment
Please do not eat or drink anything prior to your surgery. Having anything in your stomach can increase the risk for serious anesthetic complications.
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