What Are Wisdom Teeth?
By the age of 18, the average adult has 32 teeth; 16 teeth on the top and 16 teeth on the bottom.
Each tooth in the mouth has a specific name and function. The teeth in the front of the mouth (incisors, canine, and bicuspid teeth) are ideal for grasping and biting food into smaller pieces. The back teeth (molar teeth) are used to grind food up into a consistency suitable for swallowing.
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.
Please refer to the nearby radiograph image of a wisdom tooth in a patient's jaw bone to see how these extra teeth can impact your oral health and jaw function.
For more information about Bone Grafting or to schedule a consult with Dr. Kim, please use our Appointment Request form or call our office in McLean, VA at McLean Office Phone Number 703-867-9499.
Wisdom Tooth Removal Safety
Cone Beam CT
One of the main risk factors in removing lower wisdom teeth is nerve injury. This can, rarely, result in temporary or permanent numbness in the lip and chin area. However, with the latest in 3-D Imaging technology, wisdom teeth removal is safer and more efficient than ever. By locating the nerve in three-dimensional space, Dr. Kim can keep his patients safer than ever.
Why Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
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 does not generally happen. The extraction of wisdom teeth is necessary when they are prevented from properly erupting within the mouth. They may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum, and 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 successfully erupt.
These poorly positioned impacted teeth can cause many problems. When they are partially erupted, the opening around the teeth allows bacteria to grow and will eventually cause an infection. The result: swelling, stiffness, pain, and illness. The pressure from the erupting wisdom teeth may move other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth. The most serious problem occurs when tumors or cysts form around the impacted wisdom teeth, resulting in the destruction of the jawbone and healthy teeth. Removal of the offending impacted teeth usually resolves these problems. Early removal is recommended to avoid such future problems and to decrease the surgical risk involved with the procedure.
With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, Dr. Kim can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there are present or may be future problems. Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a superior outcome for the patient. Patients are generally first evaluated in the mid-teenage years by their dentist, orthodontist, or by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize patient comfort. Dr. Kim has the training, licensing, and experience to provide various types of anesthesia for patients to select the best alternative.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Procedure
In most cases, the removal of wisdom teeth is performed under local anesthesia, laughing gas (nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia) or general anesthesia. These options, as well as the surgical risks (i.e., sensory nerve damage, sinus complications), will be discussed with you before the procedure is performed.
Once the teeth are removed, the gum is sutured. To help control bleeding, bite down on the gauze placed in your mouth. You will rest under our supervision in the office until you are ready to be taken home.
Upon discharge, your postoperative kit will include postoperative instructions, a prescription for pain medication, antibiotics, and a follow-up appointment in one week for suture removal.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to use our Contact Us form or call us at McLean Office Phone Number 703-867-9499.
Our services are provided in an environment of optimum safety that utilizes modern monitoring equipment and staff who are experienced in anesthesia techniques.