Your third molars are more commonly called “wisdom teeth.” Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt within the mouth, usually appearing in the late teens or very early twenties, third molars often lack the proper space in the jaw to erupt fully or even at all. This common condition is called impaction. When any tooth lacks the space to come through or simply develops in the wrong place of your jaw and becomes impacted, problems can arise.
Why Should I Remove My Wisdom Teeth?
If your wisdom teeth are fully erupted, properly aligned, with no decay/caries, and healthy gum tissue they may not have to be removed. Unfortunately in most cases this does not generally happen. Please see your dentist, or come in for a consultation so that this can be determined. Remember that there is a recommended age limit for prophylactic removal of wisdom teeth with minimal risks, as most risks for removal increases with age.
Problems that can arise from impacted wisdom teeth includes; damage to adjacent teeth, inflammation under the gums (Pericoronitis) and in the jaw bones, causing swelling, stiffness, pain and sometimes fever. As they try to erupt, wisdom teeth my cause movement and crowding of teeth disrupting the orthodontic and/or natural alignment of other teeth. Other serious problems that may occur includes cysts or tumors that can form around the impacted wisdom tooth, that may result in destruction of the jaw bone and adjacent healthy teeth. We recommend early removal in order to avoid future problems, as described above, and decrease the surgical risks associated with the procedure at an older age.
If you have been referred to our office to have your wisdom teeth removed, Dr. Lugakingira will review your medical history, conduct an oral examination, and review your X-ray in order to develop a personalized treatment plan for you. You will be given pre-operative and post-operative instructions to follow. A summary of our pre-operative instructions generally includes; wearing loose, comfortable, warm clothing, not having anything to eat or drink after midnight or for 6 hours prior to surgery, taking all your regular medications with sips of water unless instructed otherwise by our doctor, bringing an escort with you, and making arrangements for your recovery at home.
What can I expect during the procedure?
The surgery will be performed under the appropriate type of anesthesia to ensure your comfort. We recommend and do perform most of the wisdom teeth removal for our patients under intravenous (IV) sedation, however, local anesthesia and laughing gas (nitrous oxide / oxygen analgesia) are also offered. Please see anesthesia section for details. Although we offer and perform most of our wisdom teeth removal on the same day of consultation, please contact our office prior to your appointment to determine if this would be the case for you. Treatment is rendered based upon personalized treatment plan and health status.
Following the procedure, gauze will be used to help control the bleeding. We will observe you post-operatively until you are stable, after which you will be discharged home. You will need someone to drive you home. We will provide you with post-operative instructions, as well as a prescription for pain medications, and sometime antibiotics and / or a mouth rinse. A follow-up appointment will also be made based on your surgery and post-operative expectations.