Wisdom Teeth Removal

Oral Examination for Extraction of Wisdom Teeth

With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, Dr. Burns can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth, determine if there are any current problems, or predict if there may be future problems with them. Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment of the wisdom teeth result in a superior outcome for the patient.

Why should I have my wisdom teeth removed?

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to come into into the mouth. When they align properly and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth do not have to be removed. Unfortunately, this does not generally happen. The extraction of wisdom teeth is necessary when they are prevented from properly erupting within the mouth. The teeth may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gums, or even remain trapped beneath the gums and bone. 

If you do not have enough room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth to fully erupt, a number of issues can result. Impacted wisdom teeth can be removed in some patients as early as age 12 or 13, and in others it may not be until the early 20s. Problems tend to occur with increasing frequency after the age of 30. Some of the potential problems related to delaying the removal of impacted wisdom teeth include:

A representation of a pericoronitis infection on a wisdom tooth

Infection:

A frequent clinical problem with wisdom teeth is pericoronitis, (a localized gum infection). Without enough room for total eruption, the gum tissue around the wisdom tooth can become irritated and infected, resulting in recurrent pain, swelling, and problems with chewing and/or swallowing.

An example of a cyst formation on a wisdom tooth

Cyst Formation:

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 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.

An illustration of teeth crowding causes by a wisdom tooth

Possible Crowding:

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.

A visual of a wisdom tooth damaging an adjacent tooth

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.

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. If your impacted wisdom teeth are not removed in your teenage years or early twenties, and they are completely impacted in bone, it may be advisable to wait until a localized problem (such as cyst formation or localized gum disease and bone loss) develops. In general, you will heal faster, more predictably and have fewer complications if treated in your teens or early twenties.

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. Dr. Burns 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 doctor are inspected on behalf of the Board of Dental Examiners on a regular basis.

If you opt for IV anesthesia on the day of your procedure, we ask that a parent or responsible adult accompany you to the office and plan to stay with you the rest of the day. The procedure will take about 30 to 60 minutes and you will probably be in the office for 90 minutes. Recent advances in medicine and technology allow patients to undergo wisdom tooth removal in a manner which promotes rapid healing and minimal post-operative discomfort. State-of-the-art sterilization and infection control techniques are used at all times.

On the day of your surgery, it is essential that you have nothing to eat or drink (excluding prescription medications with a sip of water) for at least 6 – 8 hours (preferably longer) if having IV anesthesia. Having anything in your stomach can increase the risk for serious anesthetic complications, including nausea and vomiting. If you opt for local anesthesia only, or nitrous oxide, the fasting guidelines are relaxed. When you are seated in the surgical room, we will make every effort to make you as comfortable as possible. If you are going to be sedated, we usually will place an IV in your right hand or arm. This is a quick and nearly painless procedure that ensures optimal delivery of your medication. Local anesthesia is given to you afterwards to ensure comfort, and allow adequate time to travel home and rest. You will be sleepy for a significant portion of the day.

smiling teenage son with his mother

The Day of Treatment

You may choose to have an adult with you at the time of your procedure. Make plans to have a parent or responsible adult stay with you for the rest of the day following wisdom tooth removal.

What does wisdom tooth removal cost and is it covered by insurance?

The fee for your treatment is determined by a number of factors. These may include the difficulty involved in removing your teeth and which type of anesthesia is best for you. During your consultation appointment, Dr. Burns will need to review your x-rays, complete an examination and determine the best option for anesthesia, before an accurate estimate can be provided. Every insurance company has a different policy regarding the extent of coverage for a given surgical procedure. The office staff will help you obtain maximum insurance coverage for your treatment.

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 Geist Oral & Facial Surgery Phone Number 317-823-4260 to speak to one of our patient care coordinators.

A smiling woman

The Day of Treatment

If undergoing sedation for the procedure, please do not eat or drink anything prior to your surgery. Having anything in your stomach can increase the risk for serious anesthetic complications.