Wisdom Teeth

Third molars, also known as “wisdom teeth”, are the last teeth to develop. They usually develop as an adolescent and attempt eruption between the ages of 17 and 22. Most people do not have enough room left in their jaw for the wisdom teeth to erupt properly, leaving them trapped in the jaw (impacted) to varying degrees. Over a lifetime, most wisdom teeth will require removal for various reasons. These include pain, infection, decay, compromise or loss of the adjacent second molars, formation of pathology (cysts and tumors), or an adverse effect on the alignment of the remaining teeth. The various positions of impacted wisdom teeth are the best indicator of their likelihood for causing problems. For example, wisdom teeth partially exposed through the gum tissue are more likely to become infected. Completely impacted wisdom teeth are most likely to cause concern for pathology, and erupted wisdom teeth are most likely to develop decay.

An oral surgeon should assess your specific situation to help make decisions about the need for removal of your wisdom teeth. The decision for wisdom teeth removal is also greatly affected by the age and health of the patient and the presence of symptoms such as pain or infection. In teenage patients, when it’s determined that the wisdom teeth will predictably cause problems, it is often recommended to remove them even though the patient may not present with any current symptoms. This proactive approach takes advantage of youth for better healing and will provide the maximum benefit over time with the least surgical hardship and risk to the patient.


Wisdom tooth removal is effective in preventing:

  • Pain and infection, including low-grade infections that can represent general health risk to the patient.
  • Gum (periodontal) disease in the second molars next to the wisdom teeth, due to difficulty accessing and cleaning the second molars.
  • Development of pathology (cysts and tumors) arising from the teeth tissue.
  • Orthodontic relapse or worsening of teeth crowding and alignment.
  • Decay and loss of tooth structure in the wisdom teeth and the second molars due to the difficulty in cleaning around the wisdom teeth.

When any of these conditions develop, your dentist or healthcare provider may determine that wisdom tooth extraction is necessary and refer you to LoneStar OMS.

The removal of wisdom teeth is a common oral surgery procedure. Before surgery, your doctor will discuss the procedure with you and outline what you can expect. This is a good time to ask questions and share with us any current medical concerns and what medications you are taking. Providing your doctor with a complete medical history will ensure that necessary precautions can be taken prior to your oral surgery procedure.

Your doctor at LoneStar OMS will help prepare you for what to expect after your procedure. The more impacted (less accessible) the wisdom teeth, the more surgery is required for their removal.  Patients have the option of local anesthetic, nitrous oxide, intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. Your surgeon will discuss which option may be best for your specific oral surgery needs.

Generally, you can expect a week of healing, with some days being easier than others. Planning flexibility in your schedule is usually the biggest challenge, and the most important factor in ease of your post operative course.

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