Here at Bass & Watson Family Dental, we are proud to offer wisdom teeth removal services right here in our Apex office! With Dr. Watson being a licensed and certified sedation dentist, and highly trained and experienced in third molar extractions, you can rest easy (literally) while having your wisdom teeth removed.
Call today to set up a free consultation appointment with Dr. Watson to get started.
What Are Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are actually our third molars, and are the final set of teeth to develop. They are located the furthest back in the mouth and typically start to come in when a person is between the ages of 16 and 25. There are usually four of them, two on the bottom, and two on the top. Occasionally, one or more of the wisdom teeth are congenitally missing (missing at birth). It’s even possible for some people to actually develop more than four wisdom teeth!
Wisdom teeth get their name from the fact that they develop when a person is older, which is considered the “age of wisdom” or when a person is traditionally considered wiser. All molars have four to five cusps to help crush and break down foods. By the time your wisdom teeth come in, you’ve already got your first and second sets of molars. The wisdom teeth are the third set of molars. This final set gives the mouth 12 molars in total, for a grand total of 32 teeth!
The History Behind Wisdom Teeth
Anthropologists who have studied wisdom teeth, have given some interesting insights on why our bodies developed them. The prevailing theory today is that thousands of years ago, our earliest ancestors had larger and wider jaws, so there was plenty of room for all thirty-two teeth to fit in the mouth. Over the years, thanks to genetic scrambling and evolution, the size of the human jaw became smaller, but the number of teeth didn’t change. This is why most people do not have enough room in their mouth for their wisdom teeth to come in without causing problems.
Why Should My Wisdom Teeth Be Removed
When there is not enough room for wisdom teeth to fully come into your mouth, it is usually recommended for the wisdom teeth to be removed.
Impacted and malpositioned wisdom teeth can cause many issues if left untreated. These include infection or pain in and around the wisdom teeth, cyst formation, resorption, damage to adjacent teeth, and cavities. Even if the wisdom teeth appear to come in completely, they are usually very difficult to keep clean, and you may still need to have them removed.
Not all wisdom teeth should be removed, however, very few people actually benefit from keeping their wisdom teeth. Ironically, when you’re young and healthy, your wisdom teeth may not bother you at all, so you assume all is well. It is not until much later in life when the wisdom teeth start to cause issues, but by then it is more difficult to remove them and you may not heal as easily as you would as a younger person. It is important to have your dentist evaluate your personal situation to determine what is best for you.
Paying for Wisdom Teeth Removal
At Bass & Watson Family Dental, we strive to make the process of wisdom teeth removal as easy as possible, for both you and your wallet. Because there is such a huge long-term benefit to having wisdom teeth removed early, we don’t want finances to be the roadblock that prevents you from getting this done. Just give us a call to find out how we can help you. Our insurance experts are here to advocate for you, and they will find out how to maximize your dental benefits to help pay for the procedure. And if you don’t have dental insurance, ask about financing options. You may be surprised at how affordable wisdom teeth removal can be.
When to Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed
The best time to have wisdom teeth removed is usually between the ages of 16 and 22, when the teeth are still not fully formed. If you wait until you are older, and the roots are completely grown, it can become more difficult to remove the teeth, so you would need to review the pros and cons with your dentist.
The best way to find out if you should have your wisdom teeth removed is to visit the dentist and have a panoramic x-ray taken. This will show the position of all the wisdom teeth as well as their stage of development.
How to Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed
The first step in getting your wisdom teeth removed is to set up a consult appointment. Here, the assistant will take a panoramic x-ray, if you don’t already have a recent one, so the dentist can evaluate the state of your wisdom teeth. If your wisdom teeth are recommended for removal, the dentist will discuss with you the process of having them removed, including risks and benefits of the procedure, and answer any questions you may have.
The most comfortable and safest way to have wisdom teeth removed is under IV sedation. Dr. Watson is an experienced sedation dentist, and will make sure you are comfortable throughout the entire procedure. IV sedation, also called IV moderate sedation, is a technique where a small IV is connected to your arm where the sedation medications can be administered safely. Patients typically drift off to sleep and don’t remember the procedure at all. Dr. Watson will gladly discuss more about this, and if it’s right for you, at your consult appointment.
What to Expect After the Surgery
Most patients recover relatively quickly from their wisdom teeth surgery. However, it is normal to have a certain amount of discomfort afterward. This typically subsides after the first 3 days, but in some cases can persist a little longer. Most of the time, taking ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) will take care of the pain and inflammation associated with this. It is recommended to take 600 mg ibuprofen and 500 mg acetaminophen at the same time, every 6 hours for the first 72 hours after your surgery. Dr. Watson may also provide additional prescription medication, such as an antibiotic, a steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or a stronger pain medication, all of which are helpful with healing and managing post-operative discomfort.
For more detailed post-operative instructions for wisdom teeth remove, please visit our Post Operative Wisdom Teeth Instructions Page.