What are Wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last teeth to develop and appear in your mouth. They typically appear in the mouth between the ages of 17 and 25. The surgeons at Great River Oral Surgery recommend that children in their mid-teen years receive an evaluation by their dentist or orthodontist, and an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to determine the location and condition of wisdom teeth.

Why should I get my wisdom teeth removed?

Because wisdom teeth are commonly unable to fit in the mouth, many dental professionals recommend early treatment by removing wisdom teeth before they cause complications. If wisdom teeth are not removed, they are susceptible to many complications such as impaction, infection, pain, dental disease, and more.

When should I schedule my wisdom teeth removal?

The surgeons at Great River Oral Surgery recommend having a wisdom teeth evaluation in a persons’ mid-teen years to determine the location and condition of the wisdom teeth.  Early intervention to remove wisdom teeth can prevent future discomfort, promote rapid healing, and pave the way for a healthy smile.  Before age 25, is the preferred timeframe. Older patients should be prepared for a longer recovery time.

Does it hurt to have wisdom teeth extracted?

To maximize our patients’ comfort during surgical tooth extraction, we offer many sedation options including general anesthesia to allow patients to sleep during the procedure for their comfort.

How long does it take to recover from wisdom teeth removal?

While it can vary from patient to patient, most people can expect to resume normal activities within a few days of having their wisdom teeth removed. You may still need to restrict vigorous activity, such as exercise, for a few days beyond that period to make sure that you continue to heal properly. However, if you have a sedentary job or are in school, you likely will be able to return to that routine within 2-3 days from your wisdom tooth extraction. Keep in mind that complications can affect that timeline, so be sure to follow the post-operative instructions from your surgeon to reduce your risk of such issues.

What is a dry socket?

A normal healing wisdom tooth socket provides protection for the underlying bone and nerves.  However, if you develop dry sockets, you will be able to see the underlying bone.  Dry sockets cause significant pain for patients. You can take steps to help prevent dry sockets after wisdom teeth removal, by avoiding the use of drinking straws or smoking. Talk to your oral surgeon to learn more about dry socket prevention.

How long does it take for the hole to close after a wisdom tooth extraction?

The gum tissue should begin to regenerate and cover the extraction site in about two weeks to a month. The bone takes longer to remodel, around six months or so. Infection can delay this process, so be sure to keep the extraction sites clean so that you do not develop infections.

What does it mean when my teeth are impacted?

An impacted tooth simply means that a tooth is lodged into the gingival tissue and bone. When impacted teeth require oral surgery, it is because the tooth will not erupt through the gum line on its own.

How do you expose an impacted tooth?

Impacted tooth exposure is a common oral and maxillofacial surgery procedure—especially among patients whose permanent teeth are emerging and replacing baby (deciduous) teeth.

Our team of oral surgeons may utilize a variety of methods depending on the needs of the patient and his or her specific situation. In some cases, simply surgically exposing the tooth by removing gingival tissue is enough to guide the tooth to natural eruption.