What are impacted wisdom teeth?
Sometimes, teeth become blocked by overlying gum and/or bone tissue and are unable to erupt properly into the mouth. When this happens, the teeth are said to be impacted. Impaction is quite common for wisdom teeth because the human jaw is often too small to allow these molars to grow in correctly. Impaction can damage nearby teeth and oral structures and cause infections and other problems in the mouth. With regular checkups, your dental team can track the wisdom teeth and treat any issues before they begin. Don’t wait until you have symptoms to have your wisdom teeth checked out — it is possible to have impacted wisdom teeth without any noticeable signs, but some of the most common signs of impacted wisdom teeth may include
- Swelling/pain/pressure or sensitivity near the back molars or at the back of the jaws
- Pain when opening the mouth
- Bad breath and/or an unpleasant taste in the mouth that doesn’t resolve (indicating an infection)
When teeth are impacted, surgery to remove them requires a skilled oral surgeon. Dr. Williams and his skilled clinical team are wisdom teeth removal experts, so if you suspect that an impacted wisdom tooth is causing problems, we encourage you to contact us for an oral evaluation so that we can care for you.
How much will it cost for me or my child to have wisdom teeth extraction?
You can receive an accurate estimate of you or your child’s wisdom teeth extraction cost when you have your consultation with Dr. Williams at our North Conway, NH, practice. During this first visit, you and Dr. Williams will work together to form a complete treatment plan that will include your cost estimate.
How do I prevent my wisdom teeth from becoming impacted?
The best way to prevent implicated wisdom teeth is to have them treated early, in the early teen years, before they ever become impacted! Regular dental examinations, imaging, and cleanings at least twice a year (particularly for children whose wisdom teeth are just starting to develop) will ensure that any potential problems with the wisdom teeth will be stopped in their tracks by a referral to a trusted oral surgeon for an extraction procedure. Complications from impacted wisdom teeth can be costly and uncomfortable — so let’s avoid problems before they begin!
How can I tell if my wisdom teeth need to be extracted?
The short answer is, sometimes, you can’t tell when it’s time to have the wisdom teeth extracted — sometimes, there are no noticeable symptoms. The long answer is that children should receive dental examinations every six months to track the development of the wisdom teeth so that treatment can begin before any oral health problems arise. It is important to see a dental professional as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis and speedy treatment if you notice discomfort or swelling in the area behind the back molars or an unpleasant taste or smell in the mouth. This may indicate that you have impacted wisdom teeth and/or an associated infection.
What happens during wisdom teeth removal?
The process for wisdom teeth extraction begins with the first visit with Dr. Williams, where you or your child will receive an oral examination and 3D diagnostic scans to create a personalized treatment plan. The treatment plan will include the type of in-office anesthesia deemed best for your case. We offer multiple types of anesthesia — however, wisdom teeth extractions are usually performed under intravenous (IV) sedation during which the patient experiences a sleep-like state with no awareness of the procedure taking place. For this type of sedation, there are specific instructions to follow that will be provided to you before any procedure takes place. We perform wisdom teeth extractions in the safety and comfort of our North Conway, NH, practice and tend to each patient as if they are family. During the surgical procedure, the gum tissue is opened to expose the wisdom tooth (or teeth). Any pieces of bone or abnormal structures blocking the growth path are removed, and if the molars are large or hard to remove, they may be broken into smaller pieces. Finally, Dr. Williams will carefully stitch up the surgical site(s), and the patient will rest until their anesthesia wears off. If the wisdom teeth are already grown in, the extraction proceeds just like a general tooth extraction procedure.
Is wisdom teeth extraction painful?
Don’t worry — wisdom teeth extractions don’t hurt. In fact, you will be completely unaware of the procedure taking place because you will likely be under intravenous (IV) sedation, which will be safely administered by Dr. Williams. After your extraction, you are likely to experience some discomfort in and around your surgical sites, and you will receive a prescription for pain control medication to manage this. Our wisdom teeth patients often tell us that over-the-counter pain medications were enough!
Are wisdom teeth always extracted?
The short answer is that if there’s a wisdom tooth present, it will usually require extraction — but, interestingly, wisdom teeth are not always present in the human mouth! Most people, however, have at least one, and in most cases, develop four wisdom teeth (one in each back corner of the dental arch). Even if you’re lucky enough to just have one or two wisdom teeth, the modern human jaw is commonly not large enough to accommodate them. It’s important to have your family dentist track the development of your or your child’s wisdom teeth as they enter the early teen years. If your dentist observes that the wisdom teeth are developing in a way that may cause them to become impacted or are likely to cause problems of any kind, you will be referred to a trusted oral surgeon for extraction. Early treatment for wisdom teeth can save time, money, and discomfort later.
Why not have my regular dentist remove my wisdom teeth?
The surgery for removing teeth that have not erupted properly into the dental arch is beyond the scope of a general dentist. Additionally, oral surgeons are the only healthcare specialists other than anesthesiologists who can administer all levels of sedation — including the IV sedation that is typically required for wisdom teeth extraction. Because of this, and because of their many years of specialized training and education, oral surgeons are the providers that perform safe and comfortable wisdom teeth extractions and can address any complications that may occur. See our page on oral surgery for more about this.
What is the recovery like after wisdom teeth removal?
It’s common for our wisdom teeth patients to need to rest and recover for about two to four days after their procedure before they can get back to their normal daily activities and routines. It’s important to follow your pre- and post-surgical instructions so that your recovery can go as smoothly as possible. Dr. Williams may prescribe medication to help with any post-surgical discomfort you may have; however, we find that an over-the-counter pain medication often keeps our patients comfortable.
The friendly and knowledgeable team at White Mountain Dental Implant and Oral Surgery Center is here to answer your questions or to schedule your consultation with Dr. Williams to discuss your individual case. Please feel free to contact us at your convenience. For expert wisdom teeth extraction procedures for patients of all ages, we hope you will consider joining us at our welcoming practice in North Conway, NH.
If you are uneasy about wisdom teeth extraction, you may feel more at ease after you check out some of the personal stories of our wisdom teeth patients!