What are impacted wisdom teeth?
When your wisdom teeth have become blocked by overlying gum and/or bone tissue and are unable to erupt properly into the mouth, they have become impacted. Unfortunately, it’s very common for wisdom teeth to become impacted because the human jaw is typically not large enough to allow them to emerge properly. When the wisdom teeth become impacted, complications such as damage to nearby teeth and oral structures, infections, and other problems can occur. Having your wisdom teeth regularly checked and evaluated allows you and your dental team the time to treat dental issues and prevent complications before they begin. It is possible to have impacted wisdom teeth without any noticeable symptoms, but some of the most common sign of impacted wisdom teeth may include the following:
- Swelling/pain/pressure or sensitivity near the back molars or at the back of the jaws
- Pain when opening the mouth
- Persistent bad breath and/or an unpleasant taste in the mouth (indicating an infection)
Surgery to remove wisdom teeth becomes a little trickier when the teeth are impacted, but the oral surgeons and their ace team at Oral Surgery Specialists of Idaho are wisdom teeth removal experts. If you suspect that an impacted wisdom tooth is causing problems, we encourage you to contact us for a complete oral evaluation so that we can help you.
How much does wisdom teeth extraction cost?
The best way to receive an accurate estimate of you or your child’s wisdom teeth extraction cost at our Pocatello and Blackfoot offices is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Baker or Dr. Jepsen. During this first visit, you and your oral surgeon will collaborate to create a treatment plan, and your cost estimate will be determined at this time.
How do I prevent my wisdom teeth from becoming impacted?
Everyone in the family should be seeing a dentist for regular examinations, imaging, and cleanings at least twice a year. This is particularly important for children in the early and mid-teens so that their wisdom teeth can be tracked as they develop. Complications from impacted wisdom teeth are no fun, so, when it’s the right time, your dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon so that you or your child can receive treatment to avoid problems before they begin.
How can I tell if my wisdom teeth need to be extracted?
It’s recommended that children receive dental examinations every six months to track the development of wisdom teeth. This is important because wisdom teeth treatment should ideally begin long before any oral health problems arise because sometimes wisdom teeth that are already causing oral health issues can have no symptoms at all. If discomfort or swelling in the area behind the back molars does occur, or if you notice an unpleasant taste or smell in the mouth that may indicate an infection, it’s important to see a dental professional as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis and speedy treatment.
What’s the process for wisdom teeth removal?
First, you or your child will have a first visit with your oral surgeon where you will receive an oral examination and, if necessary, detailed 3D diagnostic scans to determine the position of the wisdom teeth and if and how they are impacted. The doctor will then create a treatment plan, including the type of in-office anesthesia that will be best for you or your child’s comfort. We offer several types of anesthesia at our practice; however, wisdom teeth extraction is most commonly performed under intravenous (IV) sedation. IV sedation means that you will enter a sleep-like state and have no awareness of the procedure taking place. For this type of anesthesia, you must not have anything to eat or drink (excluding prescription medications with a sip of water) for at least six hours before receiving IV sedation — and a responsible adult should be present to drive you home after surgery. The extractions will be performed in the safety and comfort of one of our two convenient locations in Pocatello and Blackfoot, using state-of-the-art tools and techniques. During the procedure, your surgeon will lift the gum tissue to expose the wisdom tooth (or teeth) and remove any small pieces of bone or abnormal structures blocking the growth path. If the wisdom teeth are already grown in, this exposure step will not be necessary. Sometimes, teeth will be broken into pieces to make them easier to remove. Finally, the surgeon will stitch up the surgical site(s), and you will rest until your anesthesia wears off.
Is wisdom teeth extraction painful?
Not at all. Our patients experience no sensation of pain and are completely unaware of the extraction procedure taking place because this type of oral surgery is typically performed under intravenous (IV) sedation (safely administered by your oral surgeon before the procedure begins). After your extraction, you may receive a prescription for pain control medication to help with any post-operative discomfort you may have. However, we find that often an over-the-counter pain medication can keep you comfortable.
Are wisdom teeth always extracted?
Some people are lucky enough to never develop wisdom teeth or to only develop one or two. But in most cases, people develop four of these extra molars, and the modern human jaw is not large enough to accommodate them. During regular visits, your family dentist will track the development of your or your child’s wisdom teeth. You will be referred to a trusted oral surgeon for extraction if the teeth are positioned poorly, are impacted, or are likely to cause problems of any kind. Early and proactive treatment for wisdom teeth can save time, money, and discomfort later.
Why not have my regular dentist remove my wisdom teeth?
Most wisdom teeth extractions are done before the molars have erupted into the mouth, and the process for removing them is beyond the scope of a general dentist. Furthermore, oral surgeons are the only health care specialists other than anesthesiologists who can administer all levels of sedation, including general anesthesia. Because of this, and because of their extensive training and education, oral surgeons are the most qualified providers to perform safe and comfortable wisdom teeth extractions and address any complications that may occur. See our page on oral surgery for more important information about this.
What is the recovery like after wisdom teeth removal?
We find that two to four days is often enough recovery time for our wisdom teeth patients before they can get back to their normal daily activities and routines. Always follow your pre- and post-surgical instructions to help make your recovery go as smoothly as possible. Your surgeon may prescribe medication to help with any post-surgical discomfort you may have. However, we find that over-the-counter pain medication often keeps our patients comfortable. Please visit our oral surgery page to learn how to prepare for your upcoming oral surgery procedure, including recovery.
Our staff is here to answer any questions you may have or to schedule your consultation with Dr. Baker or Dr. Jepsen to discuss your individual case, so please feel free to contact us at your convenience. Drs. Baker and Jepsen are experts in wisdom teeth extraction procedures for patients of all ages at our welcoming practice locations in Pocatello and Blackfoot.
If you are uneasy about receiving oral surgery to remove your wisdom teeth, it may help you feel more at ease about your procedure to check out some of the personal stories of our wisdom teeth patients.