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 are ideal for grasping and biting food into smaller pieces. The back teeth are used to grind food up into a consistency suitable for swallowing. Unfortunately, the average mouth has space to hold only 28 teeth and it can be painful and sometimes problematic when 32 teeth try to fill the same area. These last teeth to errupt are your third molars, also known as "wisdom teeth."
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. 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, or remain impacted beneath gum and bone.
These poorly positioned 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.
Likewise, pressure from the erupting wisdom
teeth may move other teeth and disrupt the
orthodontic or natural alignment causing aching.
The most serious problem occurs when tumors or cysts form around impacted wisdom teeth, resulting in the destruction of the jawbone and healthy teeth.
With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, Dr. La Puma can evaluate the position of wisdom teeth. Under most circumstances, their removal will alleviate current pain and prevent future complications.
All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize patient comfort. Dr. La Puma has the training, license and experience to provide various types of anesthesia for patients to select the best alternative. These options, as well as the surgical risks will be discussed with you during your consultation. Once the teeth are removed, the gum may be sutured. You will rest under our supervision in the office until you are ready to be taken home. Upon discharge, your post-operative kit may include post-operative instructions, a prescription for pain medication and antibiotics, additional gauze, an ice pack, and a follow-up appointment in one week.