Wisdom Tooth Extractions
Rose City Dental Care in Portland, Oregon
LEARN ABOUT WISDOM TOOTH EXTRACTIONS
Wisdom teeth usually come in during your late teens to early twenties and are your third and final set of molars. They are in fact unnecessary remnants from when human jaws were larger and wider, and could comfortably hold more teeth. But because our jaws have evolved to become smaller and narrower, there is often not enough room in the mouth for these third molars. As a result, many wisdom teeth are impacted, meaning they do not emerge or develop properly. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a host of oral health issues including severe pain, damage to and shifting of other teeth, tooth decay, and infection.
We highly recommend the removal of impacted wisdom teeth as soon as possible, before they can cause further dental issues. Younger patients tend to recover more quickly from impacted wisdom tooth extractions as well.
What are Wisdom Teeth & Why are They Extracted?
Third molars, commonly referred to as wisdom teeth, are the last set of teeth to erupt in patients’ smiles, and most patients’ third molars emerge between the ages of 17 and 25. These teeth were necessary for our ancient ancestors whose diets consisted of course foods and who had only the most basic methods of oral hygiene. These people frequently lost one or more teeth by this stage in life, but with today’s advanced oral hygiene and preventive dentistry solutions, most people do not experience tooth loss at this early stage. That means many patients do not have adequate space within their jawline to accommodate this set of molars. This lack of space can lead to impaction, the inability of teeth to erupt from the gums. In other cases, teeth may develop and erupt at odd angles that misalign the bite.
Additionally, this crowding and awkward positioning may lead to the shifting of adjacent teeth. Finally, pericoronitis, gum diseased localized around a specific tooth, may occur. This form of gum disease occurs around teeth that are partially impacted. Food, bacteria, plaque, and tartar can get stuck in the crevices of these teeth.
As they are not fully emerged from the gums, these partially impacted teeth are difficult to clean, and foreign substances buildup irritating the surrounding soft tissue leading to pericoronitis which can cause gum tissue swelling, inflammation, infection, and even tooth loss. In the most severe cases of pericoronitis, patients may develop cysts or tumors. This occurs when the excess space between teeth and gums fills with fluid.
Despite all of these potential issues, some wisdom teeth are able to develop and erupt without causing any oral health concerns. We recommend patients have an early examination around the age of 11 or 12. During this assessment, we’ll determine how likely wisdom tooth complications are and make treatment recommendations.
How are Wisdom Teeth Extracted?
In some cases, wisdom teeth erupt fully from the gum line and still need to be removed. In these cases, our doctor is able to “pull” the tooth. By gently rocking the tooth back and forth and cutting away the connective soft tissue, the tooth can be easily removed from the socket. Many wisdom tooth extractions need to be completed surgically. We’ll create an incision in the gums, and carefully remove the tooth. Sometimes, we may need to break the tooth into two or more sections to extract it
At Rose City Dental Care, we offer wisdom teeth removal with IV sedation in order to make the procedure as comfortable as possible, though patients can of course opt to undergo the procedure with local anesthetic only as well. It usually takes under one hour to remove wisdom teeth, depending on the complexity of the case. We advise patients to rest, treat the extraction site very gently, eat soft foods only and use painkillers as needed for a few days following the oral surgery. With proper care, patients can generally resume normal activities 3-4 days after wisdom tooth removal.
Contact us at (503) 255-2415 to schedule a wisdom tooth removal consultation! During your consultation, our doctors and the team at Rose City Dental Care will thoroughly explain the procedure, cost, and what to expect post-surgery.