By the age of eighteen, the average adult has 32 teeth; 16 teeth on the top and 16 teeth on the bottom.
The average mouth is made to hold only 28 teeth. It can be painful when 32 teeth try to fit in a mouth that holds only 28 teeth. These four other teeth are your Third Molars, also known as "wisdom teeth."
Why Should I Remove My Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt within the mouth. When they align properly and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth do not have to be removed. Unfortunately, this is extremely rare because there is a lack of sufficient space to fully erupt. The extraction of wisdom teeth is necessary when they are prevented from properly erupting within the mouth. If not removed, they may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum or even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. Impacted teeth can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to erupt successfully.
Poorly positioned impacted teeth can cause many problems. When they are partially erupted, the opening around the tooth allows bacteria to grow and will eventually cause an infection. The result: swelling, stiffness, pain and illness. This could even become life threatening, because of airway closure, and would require hospitalization and aggressive surgery.
The second molars also may be damaged to the point of requiring extraction. When a poorly positioned and impacted third molar does not allow proper hygiene (you can’t floss or brush effectively), decay may start on the second molar at the junction of the crown and root.
Also, the pressure from the erupting wisdom tooth may move other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth. This is not proven through scientific study, but rather anecdotally from the experience of some orthodontists and patients.
The most serious but rare problem is the occurrence of tumors or cysts from the impacted wisdom tooth dental follicle. This can result in the destruction of the jawbone and healthy teeth. Removal of the offending impacted tooth or teeth usually resolves these problems.
Current research has shown that approximately 86% of wisdom teeth will require removal! Early removal is recommended to avoid future problems and to decrease the surgical risk involved. Well-intentioned advice to wait for the wisdom teeth to erupt as much as possible may compromise the health of adjacent teeth, and may make the eventual surgical removable more difficult, with an increased risk of complications.
With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, Dr. Haigney can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there may be present or future problems. Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a superior outcome for the patient. We recommend patients first be evaluated in the early to mid- teenage years. Most often by this time, the surgeon will be able to tell you if there is sufficient room for the wisdom teeth to fully erupt.
All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize patient comfort. Dr. Haigney has the training, license and experience to provide various types of anesthesia. Dr. Haigney is double board certified in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery and the National Dental Board of Anesthesiology. He always keeps current in Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS). There is no one more qualified to take care of you and your families oral & maxillofacial surgery needs.
Our services are provided in an environment of optimum safety that utilizes modern monitoring equipment and staff that are experienced in anesthesia techniques. All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize patient comfort. Unlike in dental offices, general anesthesia can be used in our surgical facility, so that patients can be “asleep” during the procedure. Dr. Haigney is double board certified in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery and the National Dental Board of Anesthesiology. He and his team keep current in Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS). There is no one more qualified to take care of you and your family’s oral & maxillofacial surgery needs.
Do you still have questions about wisdom teeth? Call our Huntersville, North Carolina office for a consultation at (704) 987-3132.