Many people will opt for a preventive wisdom tooth extraction to reduce their risk of the many issues associated with impacted wisdom teeth. It is less complicated to extract wisdom teeth in older teens and young adults, so the timing of the procedure matters as well.
If you still have your wisdom teeth and want to see if an extraction is recommended in your case, visit our office for an evaluation.
Ancient humans used to have larger jaws than we do today. They also were much more likely to lose teeth to injury or wear and tear. Therefore, they usually did not have a problem with impacted wisdom teeth. Fast forward a few millennia and that’s no longer the case.
Because modern human jaws are smaller and the wisdom teeth are the largest teeth in the mouth, there’s often not enough space in a patient’s jaw to accommodate them. Consequently, they get stuck or “impacted” in the jaw.
When this happens, a simple extraction cannot be used to remove these teeth. An oral surgeon must first remove the surrounding bone to access and extract the teeth. This requires a surgical procedure. We use specialized computer software to plan the procedure with predictable results.
Why should people have impacted wisdom teeth extracted at all? Well, leaving impacted wisdom teeth in place creates some possible risks for patients, including:
It is quite difficult to keep the rear of the jaw, where the wisdom teeth are located, clean and even more so when you are dealing with impacted wisdom teeth. This allows bacteria to congregate in the area and cause problems for people.
Most patients don’t want to wait for a problem to develop, so they’ll choose to have the wisdom teeth extracted even when they are asymptomatic.
The roots of impacted wisdom teeth grow longer and more ingrained in the jaw as we get older. This makes extracting the wisdom teeth more challenging in older patients. That’s why we recommend that patients have their wisdom teeth removed by age 25.
We can schedule the wisdom teeth extraction at any time. For patients with a typical work or school routine, scheduling the extraction on a Friday can get you back to your normal routine by Monday, barring any post-extraction complications.
Students may also want to consider scheduling wisdom tooth extraction at the beginning of winter or spring break when they’ll have ample time to recuperate.
Patients usually can get back to most aspects of their routine within 2-3 days of wisdom tooth extraction. You should hold off on any vigorous activity until cleared by the oral surgeon, however, as this can interfere with healing. Keep in mind that post-extraction complications, such as dry sockets, can extend the treatment timeline. If you closely follow the post-extraction instructions that we provide, you will minimize these risks.
The gum tissue should regenerate within a couple of weeks after the wisdom tooth is extracted, although it still may be tender at the site for a while longer than that. The bone tissue takes several more weeks to rebuild completely.
Local anesthesia wears off within hours of the wisdom tooth extraction. Patients may experience some discomfort after the local anesthetic wears off, but this can typically be managed using over-the-counter or a prescription pain medication. Additionally, it takes a few hours for the effects of sedation to be reversed, so if you are receiving sedation, you’ll need to arrange for a responsible adult to escort you home from the appointment.
If you develop a dry socket, you will not see the protective blood clot that is supposed to cover exposed nerve endings in the empty socket. You may notice a hole in the soft tissue, with the white bone exposed underneath. You will feel a dry socket. The pain is quite severe, due to the sensitive nerve endings being exposed. Although dry sockets are the most common complication following a wisdom tooth extraction, they are also largely preventable. Avoid drinking through straws and smoking after your wisdom tooth extraction, and you will go a long way to reduce your risk of dry sockets.
You may experience some discomfort while swallowing for the first few days after your wisdom tooth extraction. This is normal. However, if the discomfort is severe or persists for several days, follow up with our office for further evaluation.
Doctor and staff were all friendly and explained the details of what exactly they would do and why. They called a few hours after my operation to make sure there were no complications. They were patient and understanding to our needs. Although they had multiple people needing attention, the staff made sure we were comfortable and taken care of. Definitely would recommend.
My experience with Dr. Miller and his staff was outstanding. Each team member that I interacted with was kind, informative and engaged with my care. Dr. Miller was personal, professional and took the time to answer my questions... I would strongly recommend anyone needing oral surgical care to consider Dr. Miller and his team.
Warm and friendly, and very professional. Did an excellent job removing my wisdom tooth. No pain, no swelling...I would recommend Dr. Miller to my family and closest friends without question. His staff at every level were friendly and helpful, and appeared to be happy we were there. They are the real deal. Two thumbs-up!
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For many patients, wisdom teeth extraction is the first experience with oral surgery. This procedure is so common because many patients have jaws that are too small for their large third molars to erupt properly. As such, they must be removed in surgical extraction.
He is a fellow of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and is a fellow of the International Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. He is also a member of the Oklahoma Dental Association, the American Dental Association, and the Oklahoma Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Dr. Miller is a member of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, American Academy of Implant Dentistry, and the American Academy of Facial Esthetics.
Dr. Miller is certified in Basic Cardiac Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support. He strives through attendance at continuing education courses, seminars and national meetings to deliver the most up-to-date and comprehensive surgical procedures available.