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Daniel F. Merrill, DDS, MS & Stephanie M. Merrill, DDS

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If Your Third Molars Are Causing Problems, Wisdom Tooth Removal May Be the Best Choice for You!

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Are you having problems with the third molars in your mouth? Also known as wisdom teeth, these permanent adult teeth show up between the ages of 17-25, tucked away in the back of the mouth (both on the top and bottom). They are typically hard to reach with your toothbrush to clean, and these rear teeth can become impacted because they don’t have enough space to grow correctly, potentially leaving you struggling with pain and infection.

Is Extraction Right for You?

If these molars or wisdom teeth are causing problems in your smile, you may consider having them extracted. They are the last of your teeth to come in, and our skilled oral surgeons commonly perform wisdom tooth removal. They aren’t necessary to chew, and if they get impacted or infected, they can cause you discomfort and problems. It can happen if they come in at an angle directed towards the nearby second molar or at an angle pointing towards the back of your mouth. They can also come out lying down in your jaw, sitting at a right angle to the surrounding teeth, or erupting straight up or down like their neighboring teeth but getting stuck in the jawbone.

When wisdom teeth become problematic, you can find yourself in pain from food particles or oral debris making their way behind the emerging tooth or if you have gum disease. Like their counterparts, partially erupted wisdom teeth can experience decay and cavities, often because they can be so hard to clean every day. Our oral surgeons recommend pulling wisdom teeth if they are causing problems (or if they can damage neighboring teeth or the bone material). Cysts can form around the tooth, and if you are entering orthodontic treatment, wisdom teeth can often get in the way. In these cases, removing them might be better for your smile overall. So, what does wisdom tooth extraction look like?

Prep Work

Extracting wisdom teeth is usually an outpatient procedure so that you can return home the same day of your treatment armed with aftercare instructions. You are given instructions to follow to prepare in advance for your wisdom tooth removal. We will be happy to answer all of your questions to help you feel more comfortable and prepared. You will be given a numbing agent and anesthesia before the surgery, whether with local anesthesia, sedation anesthesia, or general anesthesia. Depending on your choice of anesthesia, you may need to have someone drive you home afterward. You will also be prescribed medication in advance.

Surgery Day

Our oral surgeon will make an incision in your gums to show the tooth and the underlying bone to pull the wisdom tooth. We will remove bone to get to the tooth root and then break the tooth into sections to take out if it is easier and extract the tooth. We will clean the area to make sure there is no oral debris left behind. Sometimes the location is stitched closed to help with healing. Depending on the anesthesia you have, you might recover briefly in the dental chair or recovery room. Gauze is applied to the extraction site to 1) lessen your bleeding and 2) promote blood clot formation.

Home Care

Once home, you can take over-the-counter medications or prescription medication to feel more comfortable. You can use an ice pack to reduce swelling and drink lots of water (no straws for a week). Start with liquids and soft foods initially to keep from irritating the socket. You may need a follow-up visit unless you are recovering well, had no issues during the extraction and do not need stitches taken out.

Extracting wisdom teeth is a common treatment with technological advances and instruments helping to make it a breeze. You can stay on top of discomfort by following the aftercare recommendations and taking medication as needed. Before you know it, your wisdom teeth will no longer be causing you problems. Please call our office today if you have any issues with your wisdom teeth or have questions for us. We are here to help you take excellent care of your smile!