2165 Fourth St. Ste B,
Livermore, CA 94550
Wisdom teeth are extra molars that many people develop in their late teens or early twenties. While some people never need to remove these teeth, most people need to eventually have them extracted to address issues such as crowding and misalignment. When wisdom teeth come in properly aligned and functioning correctly, they are an asset to the mouth. However, they can cause crowding or damage other teeth if misaligned or impacted. Without extractions, people with impacted wisdom teeth can develop severe oral health risks such as infections and cysts. At Smiles by Design, our dentists will advise patients to have their wisdom teeth removed to prevent future problems.
If there is not enough room in your mouth for your third molars to erupt correctly, they will need to be removed. The wisdom teeth emerge at an angle and become impacted. Impacted teeth are trapped below the gum line or within the jawbone and cannot break through the gums. The most common type of impaction is partial bony impaction, where the tooth is partially covered by bone; this is generally easy to treat with early removal of the wisdom teeth. When wisdom teeth only partially emerge from the gums, they can create an opening for bacteria to enter and cause an infection in the surrounding gum tissues, teeth, and bone. It is rare for impacted teeth to cause pain, but patients may experience swelling and tenderness of the gums in the area surrounding the impacted wisdom tooth.
If your wisdom teeth are causing you pain or discomfort, they should be evaluated by your dentist to determine if removal is necessary. To determine if your wisdom teeth should be removed, your dentist will perform an oral examination and take x-rays or 3D scans to visualize the position of the teeth and the surrounding tissues. They must be removed to prevent infection and decay if the teeth are impacted. X-rays taken before you have your wisdom teeth extracted can help to determine the correct position of the teeth and determine if any neighboring teeth are at risk of being affected during the extraction process.
To get a tooth removed, your dentist will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth to be removed. Once the area is numbed, the dentist will use dental instruments to loosen and extract the problematic tooth. Sometimes a dentist will have to cut away soft gum tissue as well. Recovery time should be minimal. Most people should be able to return to work or school the next day after having their wisdom teeth removed. However, eating anything will be difficult until the anesthetic wears off. Pain medication may be prescribed to help control any pain you experience after the procedure.