Younger patients (14-21 yrs.) generally heal with a shorter recovery time and less complications. This is in part due to the lack of development of the roots of the wisdom teeth. Often, wisdom teeth that do not have sufficient space to erupt normally will have roots that have grown into close proximity with the sinuses in the upper jaw and the inferior alveolar nerve (IAN) in the lower jaw. In these cases, their removal can be more traumatic resulting in additional discomfort and a prolonged recovery. In these cases a three dimensional x-ray or CT scan may be useful to fully evaluate the risks associated with their removal.
The wisdom teeth of younger patients have undeveloped roots which do not compromise either the sinuses or the nerves. Compare Fig. A with Fig. C. Our experience has shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a superior outcome for the patient.
Why should I have my wisdom teeth removed if they’re not bothering me right now?
If they’re impacted, you may not even know you have wisdom teeth – until they become painful due to pressure or infection. You may not know that your developing wisdom teeth are pushing on the roots of adjacent teeth – until those teeth start to shift. If your wisdom teeth do erupt, they may be hard to clean, so the odds of decay or infection of the surrounding gum tissue are high. The results of expensive orthodontic work can even be ruined if your wisdom teeth contribute to crowding of adjacent teeth, causing them to shift position.
A consultation appointment is necessary to evaluate each patient’s individual conditions and needs. This is accomplished with the help of a panoramic x-ray and a thorough oral evaluation. At your consultation, all surgical and anesthetic options will be discussed. It is most common for patients having their wisdom teeth removed to have either intravenous sedation or a general anesthetic.
You will be given a prescription for pain medication, antibiotics and a mild steroid. These medications can be picked up at your convenience and in most cases should not be started until after surgery.
All insurance questions and financial arrangements will be discussed in consultation with one of our well trained front desk staff. They can help you schedule your surgical appointment and post-operative follow up appointment at this time if you so desire.
All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize patient comfort and safety. Our surgeons have the training, license and experience to provide various options. Most commonly, the removal of wisdom teeth is performed under conscious sedation (“twilight sleep”) or general anesthesia.
When having a sedation or general anesthetic, you should not have anything to eat or drink for at least 6-8 hours prior to surgery.
On the day of surgery, you should wear loose, comfortable clothing. A short sleeve shirt or top is preferable. Please refrain from wearing jewelry.
Patients under the age of 21 should be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Our surgeons are experts in the use of Micro-Incisional Dento-Alveolar Surgical techniques or ‘MIDAS’. Using these skills they successfully decrease the total time for surgery and thereby significantly decrease and often eliminate post-operative pain and swelling altogether. MIDAS surgery, also referred to as minimally invasive dental alveolar surgery, employs smaller incisions, less bone removal and less retraction of the cheeks during tooth removal. The ‘MIDAS touch’ results in improved recovery and more rapid return to normal activity.
After your wisdom teeth have been extracted, and the gums carefully closed you will be gently awakened and find yourself biting on gauze while being cared for by one of our highly trained surgery nurses. You will rest under our supervision in the office until you are ready to be taken home.
Prior to leaving the office you and your parent, guardian or ride will be given thorough written home after care instructions. These instructions will also be reviewed verbally with you by one of our certified oral surgery assistants. Your personalized post-operative kit will include extra gauze, a soft bristled toothbrush, two ice packs, Chap Stick, and a card with the nurse who cared for you throughout the procedure. You should not operate or drive an automobile for the remainder of the day.
With the combination of improved surgical and anesthetic techniques the level of patient comfort is enhanced from the preoperative experience until complete recovery.
In conclusion, whether your wisdom teeth are symptomatic or not, you can rely on your dentist / orthodontist’s expertise to diagnose any existing or potential problems. Normally, with the aid of a panoramic x-ray the decision to remove or observe your wisdom teeth can be easily made.