Dr. Adamous and Dr. Sonnichsen will use x-rays and an oral examination to assess where the wisdom teeth are located and whether or not they could be the cause of current problems or create any new ones in the future. Studies have shown that the earlier wisdom teeth are addressed, the better outcomes you will experience. This means a lower risk of future complications, a faster healing process, and the prevention of future health risks. To ensure the best results, most patients are advised to get their initial checkups in their mid-teens. During this appointment, patients are evaluated by an orthodontist, dentist, or oral and maxillofacial surgeon to determine the best course of future action.
Why should wisdom teeth be removed?
There are numerous problems that can arise when wisdom teeth become impacted. If your mouth lacks adequate space, complications can emerge such as infections and cysts. It can also cause damage to adjacent teeth, especially depending on the impaction. As your wisdom teeth and jawbone grow, they become fused together and the structures become more complex and extensive. This means it’s vital to remove wisdom teeth as soon as possible before the shape of the teeth and jawbone has become set in place. The earliest appointments are recommended for children aged 12-13, although some patients wait until their early twenties.
After age thirty, problems related to wisdom teeth generally increase, and can include:
- Infection: The most frequent issue related to wisdom teeth is pericoronitis, a localized gum infection. When wisdom teeth do not have room to completely erupt, the surrounding gum tissue can become infected, especially because of the difficulty that comes with trying to clean around the tooth. This leads to chronic pain, swelling, and issues chewing or swallowing.
- Cyst Formation: A cyst is a fluid-filled cavity inside the jaw bone that forms around an impacted tooth, slowly expanding to destroy portions of the jaw bone and neighboring teeth. Cysts are difficult to treat and can, in rare cases, lead to tumors, meaning it’s important to treat them as soon as possible.
- Crowding: As wisdom teeth erupt in the back of the mouth, they push the rest of the teeth forward, gradually moving them out of alignment. Crowding is particularly visible in the lower front teeth, and commonly manifests after braces have been removed or in early adulthood. However, other factors contribute to crowding besides wisdom teeth. The primary purpose of wisdom teeth removal is the prevention of later damage to your gums, jaw bone, and teeth.
- Damage to Adjacent Teeth: Impacted wisdom teeth can enter at angles that make it difficult or impossible to clean neighboring teeth, putting those teeth at higher risk of gum disease and decay, and possibly leading to bone loss around the tooth. Tooth infections are common once the adjacent teeth are damaged since cleaning becomes difficult.
Why should my wisdom teeth be removed early?
If wisdom teeth remain in the jaw, their roots will lengthen and the jaw bone becomes denser, causing them to support one another and fuse together. This makes extraction more difficult, so it’s important to remove them earlier in life. After your thirties, the treatment length will become longer and the chances of complications increase. Complications in older patients also have an increased healing time and are difficult to address, especially since there is a higher risk of infection.
Sometimes, if the wisdom teeth are completely impacted in the jaw bone, extraction might be difficult and will be put off until it’s absolutely necessary, such as if gum disease or bone loss develops. Overall, patients in their teens and early twenties have fewer complications and heal faster.
What happens during wisdom tooth removal?
Anesthesia is optional during wisdom tooth removal, but many patients choose to use it to make the procedure as comfortable and painless as possible. Our staff will walk you through the options available during a pre-surgical consultation. Here at Bellflower, we are trained, licensed, and experienced in all forms of anesthesia, and we provide this necessary service in a safe environment using the most up to date monitoring equipment. All of our equipment, facilities, and personnel are inspected on a regular basis and certified by the Board of Dental Examiners.
Before your surgery, you cannot eat or drink for at least six hours. We encourage foregoing these activities for longer, but we understand many patients need to take prescription medications with water. Do not attempt to eat a heavy meal before the six hour limit begins, as having a full stomach leads to an increase risk of nausea, vomiting, and other anesthetic complications. During your pre-surgical consultation, it’s possible that we will prescribe you pain medication that you can fill in advance. These are used to treat any pain and swelling that occurs after the procedure.
Since the effects of anesthesia are pronounced after this surgery, you will need a parent or another adult to escort you to the office, remain there, and then be responsible for your care and wellbeing for the rest of the day. You will be seated in the surgical room and made as comfortable as possible before the anesthesia is administered through an IV in your left arm. Most patients do not remember falling asleep, which lets you know how simple and fast this part of the procedure is. You will only be in the office for around 90 minutes. 30 to 60 minutes are for the procedure, while the remainder of the time is allowing you to wake up from the anesthesia and become coherent enough to travel home.
With the most recent advances in technology and medicine, wisdom tooth removal is a rapid, safe procedure that promotes quick healing and minimal discomfort. Anesthesia is carefully measured before the procedure. At all times, we use the latest in sterilization and infection control techniques to ensure few complications arise from the tooth removal.
Once the procedure is complete, we will administer local anesthesia in the mouth for additional comfort. We highly recommend you go home and rest, since the anesthesia will leave you sleepy for the remainder of the day. Some surgeries may require stitches, but these usually do not need to be removed and will instead dissolve after 3-5 days in the mouth. Sometimes the gums will feel like they are swelling or pulling away from the teeth – this is normal and will subside. Please avoid poking and prodding at your mouth following the procedure.
The local anesthesia can take a day to wear off, so do not fear you have suffered any sort of injury or damage. You may need additional pain medication. We recommend that you try a basic non-narcotic, anti-inflammatory option like ibuprofen before taking prescription painkillers.
Your stomach needs time to settle, so start your diet with clear liquids like broth or jello, and then move to harder, more substantive foods. We recommend you don’t consume dairy products the first day after your procedure, because these can interact with the anesthesia and pain medication, causing nausea and vomiting. If you are taking antibiotics and birth control pills, know that birth control pills may be ineffective for several days.
Does insurance cover the cost of wisdom teeth removal?
Insurance typically covers wisdom tooth removal but can vary depending on multiple factors. The cost of the procedure also varies as well based on the type of anesthesia you use and how difficult it is to remove the teeth. To provide you with an accurate estimate, your surgeon will utilize information from your consultation, including the oral examination and x-rays, to figure out which anesthesia option is best for you. Different insurance companies will offer different types of coverage for wisdom tooth removal, so there will need to be a conversation between you and your insurance company. Our staff is well-trained and experienced at guiding patients toward the maximum possible insurance coverage for wisdom teeth removal.
How do I contact your office for questions?
Call Bellflower Oral Facial Surgery & Dental Implant Center at 562-222-3607 to speak with one of our patient care coordinators and establish a future consultation and appointment.