When wisdom teeth are impacted, problems with the jaw and adjacent teeth can develop. An impacted wisdom tooth can cause gum tissue infections, decay on the second molar, and possible crowding of other teeth. Serious problems can develop with infections spreading to the throat and neck, or cysts or tumors that can destroy jawbone to the point of fracture.
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last teeth in the jaws to develop. Typically, they develop in your late teens or early twenties. Wisdom teeth either come through the gums, called erupting, or they are blocked, which is called impaction. Impaction can vary in severity, from gum tissue blockage to complete bone coverage.
In most cases, we find that there is not enough room in the mouth for wisdom teeth to function properly and be easily cleaned, and extraction is recommended.
Your dentist or orthodontist should evaluate your jaw structure and wisdom teeth status with regular oral exams and x-rays. In many cases, routine x-rays are not enough for a full evaluation of the wisdom teeth, jaw and surrounding structures. A panoramic x-ray is typically done, which allows for a complete assessment of the jaw and teeth. This specialty x-ray can be completed with OMS Specialists if necessary.
When current or potential issues with the wisdom teeth are identified, early removal is recommended. Removing wisdom teeth at an earlier age can be easier, as the jawbone is less dense. In addition, if the teeth are removed before the root develops, it involves a less invasive procedure. Removal recommendations can be as early as age 12, or may be delayed until patients are in their later teens. Patients older than 30 typically have higher complication rates and lengthened healing time.
To assess your circumstances and plan for removal, your first appointment with OMS Specialists will be a consultation. During this appointment, a detailed health history review is completed, along with an oral exam and x-ray. This allows your surgeon to review any health concerns, establish a plan for extraction, and assess your anesthetic options.
After your consultation with the surgeon, our financial coordinator will discuss the cost of the procedure, as well as what insurance will cover with you. Costs will vary based on the difficulty of the impacted teeth and the type of anesthesia used.
A surgical procedure will often involve varying degrees of swelling and discomfort. The muscles of the jaw often feel stiff for several days, and some bruising may occur. Most patients recover within three to five days. However, everyone responds to surgery differently. Our surgeons do everything possible to make your experience as comfortable as possible.