Wisdom Teeth / Tooth Extraction

Wisdom Teeth / Tooth Extraction in Lorton, Stafford, and Woodbridge, Virginia

Most insurances cover the cost for wisdom teeth extractions. Your wisdom tooth consultation begins with an oral examination and a set of X-rays are taken. After reviewing your X-Rays, your dentist may determine whether the growth of your wisdom teeth is normal or if they would be causing any trouble in future. Studies show that early prediction and intervention leads to improved outcomes for the patient. Patients are generally first evaluated in the mid-teenage years by their dentist, orthodontist, or by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that typically erupt during the late teen years. In some cases, molars may not erupt until the early 20s. 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.

Why do we have wisdom teeth removed?

Preventive Teeth Extraction

In some situations, oral surgeons will recommend that patients have their wisdom teeth extracted before problems ever develop. This is a proactive approach to ensuring that an impacted wisdom tooth, infections or misalignments do not occur. Ultimately, removing wisdom teeth in this way is designed to protect healthy, strong and correctly aligned surrounding teeth.

Possible Crowding

Impacted wisdom teeth may contribute to crowding of your teeth. This is most noticeable with the front teeth, primarily the lower front teeth and is most commonly seen after a patient has had braces. There are a number of factors that cause teeth to crowd after braces or in early adulthood. Retained, impacted wisdom teeth may be a contributing factor. Unless you have an active problem when you see the dentist, the reason for removal is primarily to prevent long-term damage to your teeth, gums and jaw bone.

Improper eruption

Wisdom teeth removal may also be 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.

Tumors or cysts

The most serious need for wisdom teeth removal is when tumors or cysts form around impacted wisdom teeth and destroy the jawbone and other healthy teeth. Removal of the impacted tooth or teeth usually resolves these issues. Early removal can also avoid future problems and decrease surgical risk involved with the wisdom teeth removal procedure.

Impacted teeth

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 which results in swelling, stiffness, pain and illness. The pressure from the erupting wisdom tooth may move other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth.

Types of Impacted Teeth

Soft Tissue Impaction –This is inadequate room for the gums to recede so that the tooth can be adequately cleaned. This can lead to infection and decay.

Partial Bony Impaction – The tooth can partially erupt, but it cannot serve its function as a tooth because it is only partially uncovered. Again, it will be difficult to clean.

Complete Bony Impaction – The tooth has no space to erupt. It is stuck in the jaw bone and is often in a position (not upright) which makes it difficult to remove. Jawbones come in many shapes and sizes. This removal can be extremely complex.

Removal of Wisdom Teeth

Your wisdom teeth may be removed by general dentist or you may be referred to an oral surgeon. This will depend on your regular dentist’s evaluation.

When planning the removal of wisdom teeth, one important consideration is the position of the mandibular nerve in relation to the roots of the wisdom teeth.

Wisdom tooth extraction is easier when working with teens and younger adults than with older people. Young people enjoy the benefit of having wisdom teeth roots that are shorter in size as compared to older adults.

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.

The procedure only takes 30 to 90 minutes, but depending on the type of anesthesia you may need to remain under observation for much longer and have someone drive you home when you are released.

As with all medical professions, advances in medicine make the healing process much faster and less prone to complications than in the past.

Recovery time is typically 3-5 days. Dentist will write you a prescription for a painkiller and possibly antibiotics.

It is common to experience wisdom teeth pain for a few days following wisdom teeth surgery. In the first 24 hours, you can place an ice or cold pack on the outside of your mouth to help control pain.

Gently rinsing the mouth with warm salt water can also reduce swelling and relieve wisdom tooth pain. Just mix 1 teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water. Non-prescription pain relief medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen are also helpful. If severe wisdom teeth pain persists, please contact our office.

Can I leave My Wisdom Teeth, Until They Hurt?

It is best to have your wisdom teeth removed before they cause you problems. The younger you are and the less root development of the teeth generally means less bone retention and easier removal. In addition, the younger and healthier you are, the faster you will heal.