Wisdom Teeth


What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom Teeth are the last of the three sets of molars to develop in the jaw.  In many cases they do not erupt until the late teens or early twenties. Most patients will not know whether or not they have them without an x-ray or until symptoms arise.

When teeth fail to “erupt”, or begin to come into the mouth, they are called impacted teeth. They can be impacted completely or partially under the jawbone, or they can just be covered in gum tissue.


Why Do I Need My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Oral Surgeons remove wisdom teeth to treat or prevent infection, pain, periodontal disease, crowding, damage to adjacent teeth, or associated cysts and tumors. They are much easier to remove, and have a lower rate of complications, when patients are in their teens and early twenties. Younger patients tend to heal better and faster as well.  For this reason, if it appears your wisdom teeth may have problems in the future, it is recommended to remove them while the risk of problems and complications is still low. This will be evaluated with a radiograph and discussed during a consultation with your surgeon.


What Will Wisdom Teeth Extraction Surgery Be Like?

Surgery typically takes between 30 and 60 minutes.  Your entire visit will usually be less than an hour and a half.  We designed our state of the art facility to make your visit safe and comfortable.  Be sure to review the instructions prior to anesthesia if you plan to be sedated.  We will review all of the post-operative instructions with you and your ride before you leave the office as well as give you a copy to take home.  You can also find them here.


How Can I Prevent Complications?

Complications after wisdom tooth removal are rare.  Although rare, the most common complications of wisdom tooth surgery are infection and dry socket.   Because infections are rare, routine antibiotics can cause more complications than they prevent. They also lead to the development of resistant bacteria. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery does not recommend routine antibiotics for wisdom teeth.  Click here to find tips on dry socket prevention.


What Will Recovery Be Like?

When it comes to recovery, everyone is different.  Recovery time varies based on age, difficulty of surgery, and how your body responds.  Younger patients will typically recover faster than an older patient.  Impacted wisdom teeth will take longer to recover from than erupted wisdom teeth.  Most people will want to have at least a couple of days off of work or school to recover before returning to normal activities. You may still have mild swelling up to a week after surgery.