Wisdom Teeth

By the age of eighteen, the average adult has 32 teeth; 16 teeth in the upper jaw and 16 teeth in the lower jaw. Most jaws can only fit 28 teeth in a healthy way. The four extra teeth that don’t fit are your third molars (3rds), also known as Wisdom TeethAlthough most people develop and grow 32 permanent adult teeth, many times their jaws are too small to accommodate the four wisdom teeth.

When inadequate space prevents the teeth from erupting, they are called impacted (see below). Impacted teeth are unable to erupt into the proper position for chewing and cleaning. We will need to see you for a consultation to determine if you will benefit from wisdom tooth removal. With an oral examination and x-rays of the jaws, Dr. Reynolds can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and help you decide whether or not they should be removed. A special x-ray of your mouth and jaws will be taken to determine if your wisdom teeth are impacted if there is room for them to erupt, and how difficult it will be to have them removed. Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a superior outcome for the patient. Patients are generally first evaluated in the early teenage years even before the teeth erupt into the mouth.

The best time to have your wisdom teeth removed is around 16 years old.

RoxanneIMG_9002At the consultation visit, our team will review your medical history and discuss any symptoms related to the wisdom teeth. You will view a video and discuss the risks and benefits of removing wisdom teeth, and decide on the type of anesthesia for the surgery. The procedure will be briefly discussed, and the post-operative instructions will be reviewed. The consent form must also be read and signed. The procedure is usually performed in our in-office surgical suites. All surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize patient comfort. Dr. Reynolds has the training, licensing and experience to provide various types of anesthesia. If you undergo Intravenous (IV) Sedation or IV General Anesthesia, you will recover in our office for a period of time. Post-operative care will be discussed with you and your escort. You will be discharged to the care of your escort, and a follow-up appointment will be scheduled for one week.

Considering getting your wisdom teeth removed? Visit the following links on our website to learn more about wisdom teeth and why you should consider removal:

Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

Why Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

When Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom Teeth FAQs

Impacted Teeth

For oral surgeons, the most common procedure is removing impacted wisdom teeth.

When teeth are physically prevented from erupting (from some other tissue covering the tooth), they are considered to be impacted. Impacted teeth cannot erupt into the proper position for chewing and cleaning. An impaction occurs when the tooth is positioned against another tooth, bone, or soft tissue, and prevents the tooth from fully erupting from the gums in a healthy position. This is a common problem affecting 75% of the population and can lead to other issues if the tooth remains untreated.

There are three common classifications of impactions. Soft Tissue, Partial Bony, and Complete Bony:

  • Soft Tissue ImpactionThere is not enough room to allow the gum tissue to retract for adequate cleaning of the tooth.
  • Partial Bony Impaction: There is enough space to allow the wisdom tooth to partially erupt. However, the tooth cannot function properly in the chewing process, and creates cleaning problems, among others.
  • Complete Bony Impaction: There is NO space for the tooth to erupt. It remains embedded in the jaw bone or if even partially visible requires complex surgical techniques for removal.The impacted wisdom tooth may also be in an unusual position and difficult to remove. This situation can also arise when the shape or size of the jaw bone and other facial structures make removal of this tooth significantly more complex.

Dr. Reynolds can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and help you decide whether or not they should be removed.

Wisdom Teeth Presentation

Wisdom Teeth Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of wisdom teeth, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to wisdom teeth are discussed.

Wisdom Teeth Presentation

Wisdom Tooth Removal Overview

For a brief narrated overview of the wisdom tooth removal process, please click the image below. It will launch our flash educational MiniModule in a separate window that may answer some of your questions about wisdom teeth.

Wisdom Tooth Removal Overview

Having trouble? Please make sure you have the Adobe Flash Player plugin installed in order to correctly view this presentation. This software is available as a free download.

Informational Video From the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS)