Wisdom teeth are also known as the third molars, and they reside in the very back of the mouth of both the upper and lower jaws. For most people, wisdom teeth are removed in the late teen years or early adulthood before they have a chance to break through the gums. If they are not removed, wisdom teeth can cause pain, damage, and affect alignment. At Smiles by the Sea in Hampton, NH, we perform both emergency and routine wisdom tooth extraction to protect your oral health.
Problems Caused by Wisdom Teeth
There was a time when extra molars were needed to help bite and chew food, but civilization has evolved past the need for wisdom teeth. Mouths are smaller and we simply don’t require that extra chewing power. Wisdom teeth, however, have stuck around – there just isn’t any room for them to settle in permanently.
Wisdom tooth extraction can happen at various times, depending on the patient. Some people get these third molars removed around the completion of orthodontic treatment, others have them removed by a certain age on the recommendation of their dentist. It’s always recommended to take your dentist’s advice about getting wisdom teeth removed so they never have the chance to erupt and cause problems. If these molars do start making their way to the surface, they could cause:
- Severe pain
- Damaged teeth
- Tooth decay
Impacted vs. Partially Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth develop in most people but perfect wisdom teeth eruption – where the tooth erupts vertically and takes its proper position in the line of teeth without crowding – is rare. Problematic wisdom teeth are always impacted.
Impacted means something is getting in the way of the tooth fully emerging. An impacted tooth may erupt through the gums or may stay under the gums, caught in the jaw or beneath the gum line. The tooth may also develop incorrectly and be positioned horizontally or diagonally under the gums.
Fully impacted wisdom teeth are wholly under the gum tissue and unable to break through. Partially erupted wisdom teeth, or partially impacted wisdom teeth, are those that have only pushed partway through the gum tissue.
The Wisdom Tooth Extraction Procedure
Wisdom teeth extraction is a routine procedure. Ideally, it is scheduled in advanced, rather than developing into a dental emergency. In either case, the extraction is done under anesthesia, usually at the dentist’s office, but possibly at an outpatient clinic or the hospital. The location will depend on your dentist’s preference and complexity of your case.
- Incision: An incision is made to expose the tooth and bone.
- Extraction: Wisdom tooth and roots are extracted piece by piece until fully removed.
- Cleaning: Debris is carefully cleaned out of the socket.
- Stitching: The surgical area is stitched shut and gauze is used to staunch bleeding.
- Recovery: Any wisdom tooth patient must be escorted home from their appointment.
- Healing: Detailed instructions will be provided for how to clean the surgical area, manage pain, and eat. A brief period of downtime, from several days to a few weeks, will be required before normal activities can resume.
Cost Factors of Wisdom Tooth Extraction
The removal of wisdom teeth is a routine procedure. Your dentist will be able to provide you with a base price but there are other factors that will affect the total cost, including:
- Whether the extraction is routine or emergency
- The complexity of the case
- How long the surgery takes
- How much anesthesia is needed
- The number of teeth removed