Common Questions About Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom teeth are the last four teeth to erupt into the mouth. They grow in the back of the mouth, often coming in during the late teens or early twenties. Unfortunately, many people don’t have room for them and need their wisdom teeth removed. This guide will answer some common questions about wisdom teeth removal.

When Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Many people choose wisdom tooth removal between the ages of 15-20. At this age, your teeth may not be fully erupted, but wisdom tooth removal is often easiest before the wisdom teeth are fully developed. Some patients may need extraction at an earlier age to avoid damage to the surrounding teeth.  The best way to determine the timing of your wisdom tooth removal, or to determine if removal is needed, is to schedule a consultation with an oral surgeon. After an oral examination and x-rays, we can help you decide if and when wisdom tooth removal is needed.

If you have room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth and can keep them clean, they may not need to be removed.

Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom teeth are often malpositioned due to space constraints. The teeth may be unable to fully erupt or may be growing at an angle, pressing up against the neighboring teeth. An oral surgeon can help you determine if your wisdom teeth are causing problems or if they are likely to cause problems in the future. Here are a few reasons you may need to consider wisdom tooth removal.

  • Jaw Damage– Cysts can develop around new teeth. If left untreated, they can cause permanent nerve and jaw damage.
  • Sinus Issues- Some patients with wisdom tooth issues experience sinus pain.
  • Damage to Other Teeth– Wisdom teeth can cause alignment problems with other teeth. Cavities and decay on the wisdom teeth can spread to the surrounding teeth.
  • Cavities- Many patients are unable to properly clean their wisdom teeth, leading to cavities and tooth decay.

What Happens During Wisdom Tooth Removal?

Your wisdom tooth removal will be customized to your unique needs. During your consultation, we’ll discuss your individual situation and make plans for appropriate pain relief, sedation (if desired), etc. We typically remove all four wisdom teeth at once, minimizing your downtime and inconvenience. Come see us and we’ll create a treatment plan together.

What Is Recovery Like After Wisdom Tooth Removal?

Recovery times vary after wisdom tooth removal, often depending on the difficulty of your extraction.  Plan on at least three days of downtime with prescription pain relief. Take it easy and get plenty of rest during the first few days. Most patients are sore for about a week, but able to resume regular activities. Complicated removals may require a longer period of downtime.

Not all patients need wisdom tooth removal, but if you do, we’re ready to help. Call our offices today and schedule your consultation.

Can I Have My Wisdom Teeth Extracted without Narcotic Pain Medications?!

Opioid treatment for postoperative pain has long been an integral part of treatment following oral surgery.  Although very useful and well tolerated by many people, these medications come with their own issues.  Before recently we did not have a lot of options for those patients who wanted to avoid post-operative opioid medication use.  With the advent of Exparel, a local anesthetic specially formulated to provide pain relief for up to 3 days following the surgery, WE NOW HAVE OPTIONS!

I am often faced with a myriad of situations for which patients would like to minimize the use of post-operative narcotics.  There is the patient who would like to return to work earlier with a clear head, or the student who needs to get back to the books for an exam.  Believe it or not there are those patients for whom narcotic medications do not even work, and some patients who just cannot tolerate the side effects.  If you are one of these patients, then we have an answer for you.

Exparel is administered at the time of surgery along with other traditional local anesthetics, and then the surgery is completed as usual.  The anesthetic has a special structure that prevents it from diffusing away from the surgical site, and allows it to be metabolized slowly over time.  The result is a constant level of anesthesia at the surgical site that lasts days, allowing you to avoid those times when the pain is at its highest level.  For many patients this can allow us to avoid opioids altogether.

Contact us today, for more information on narcotic-free recovery from wisdom tooth extraction and other oral surgery procedures.