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Is it time to think about removing wisdom teeth? Let's talk about wisdom teeth! This is our most common procedure, and we want to answer patients' most common questions here.
Related Article: What to expect on surgery day
Q: "What are wisdom teeth?"
Wisdom teeth are usually the last to erupt, but not all wisdom teeth have enough room to erupt, and many of them will not. Those teeth that cannot erupt remain impacted (embedded) in the jaw, and become increasingly difficult and risky to remove as we grow older.
Q: "How do I know when my wisdom teeth are coming in?"
Some people have discomfort from teeth that are trying to erupt, but most people do not. Wisdom teeth trying to erupt where there is inadequate space for them to do this can cause infection, swelling of the face, decay in the good teeth in front of them (second molars), and can cause the crowding and shifting of other teeth, especially the ones in the front. Orthodontists are very keen to recommend removal of the wisdom teeth to protect a nice orthodontic result.
Q: "Are my wisdom teeth impacted, and what does that mean?"
An impacted tooth is any tooth that has not erupted and is still either just under the gingiva (gum) or embedded in the bone. So it's completely possible for wisdom teeth to become impacted; if you're feeling pain in your mouth or are told by your dentist or orthodontist that you may or do have impacted teeth, it's nothing to be brushed off. Impacted teeth can result in serious infections, and the safest and least painful solution is removal of the impacted tooth or teeth by a qualified oral surgeon.
Q: "Why do I need my wisdom teeth out? They aren't bothering me, and I didn't even know they were there until the dentist saw them sleeping in my jaws!"
Sound familiar? Almost everyone has wisdom teeth, and very few of us have room for them to erupt in a healthy fashion. There are many variations in their number: some people have none; most have four; some, like me, have/had two. In my practice years, I have even seen several patients with eight. It’s important to remember that you may not have to have your wisdom teeth removed if they are healthy and have erupted in good alignment with not gum tissue problems like soreness (few people fall into this category, unfortunately). But if you have had the discomfort caused by pressure, or even pain with swelling in your face, then you are noticing signs that you probably don't have enough room for your wisdom teeth.
Also, orthodontists are quick to request that wisdom teeth be removed to prevent unwanted movement in your finished orthodontic (braces) result. Your dentist and oral surgeon can best determine the need for removal for you, and like many issues, it's best to be proactive and not wait until the wisdom teeth have caused a problem, especially for your other teeth.
Q: "Why are they there if we don't need them and they cause problems?"
Ask that of the appendix! Basically, prehistoric men and women had larger, longer jaws, and had more room than we have.
Q: "My wisdom teeth are already in (erupted), so do I need to have them out?"
The answer is no! If the gum tissue around them is healthy, the teeth are free of decay, and their position is good,then you should by all means hold on to them.
Q: "The orthodontist sent us here, and says the wisdom teeth need to come out now!?"
Rarely is removal of wisdom teeth an emergency unless there is pain or infection. An oral surgeon will have a separate opinion about timing based on development of the teeth as well as your physical development. Timing of the surgery is important to limit unnecessary difficulty with removal and potential complications; waiting too long on them can lead to other problems for removal. Roots that are mature can cause increased risk of removal around your sinus (in the upper wisdom teeth), and the very important nerve that gives feeling to your lower lip and chin (running underneath the lower wisdom teeth). The consultation with your oral surgeon and recent (within the past two years) x-ray of your teeth are critical to evaluate every aspect of development in relationship to timing. I have taken impacted wisdom teeth from patients as young as nine, and as old as 95; in the case of the nine-year-old it was to prevent future problems with eruption of other more important teeth, while the 95-year-old would only be treated if they were having problems with infection or pain.
In fairness to the orthodontist, they seek removal of your wisdom teeth because they are trying to protect your nice finished bite! Some dentists, including orthodontists, do not believe that pressure from erupting wisdom teeth can cause new crowding of your front teeth (usually, but not limited to, the lower incisors). I am a firm believer that slow, steady forces—not unlike the slow forces the orthodontists use to improve your bite—can cause unwanted movement of other teeth. I've seen it too many times. If you have finished braces, and have retainers to hold things where the orthodontist wants, you are in a good holding pattern. You should try to get wisdom teeth removed before you give up your retainers, and before their roots complete development. Without lifelong retainers (which are rarely recommended) and despite removal of wisdom teeth, new crowding can still develop as we age. There are many other factors that play into this.
Q: "My wisdom teeth are causing me pain. What's going on?"
Wisdom teeth pain can be caused either by decay (teeth that haven't erupted fully into your mouth) or a lack of room in your mouth that causes irritation in the gum tissue and possible infection. If there isn't enough room for your teeth to erupt, pain developing from attempted eruption can occur time and time again, and usually gets worse each time. Infections from partially erupted wisdom teeth can be quite serious, and need to be treated immediately.
Q: "Can't any dentist remove my wisdom teeth?"
Yes, if a dentist feels comfortable with offering you surgery, any dentist can remove your wisdom teeth. However, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are the most highly trained in removal of wisdom teeth, and are most highly trained also in the use of office general anesthesia. Any specialist in a certain type of surgery does more of that surgery than other dentists. Oral surgeons also perform the more difficult surgeries that other dentists are uncomfortable doing.
Q: "What are the potential problems if my wisdom teeth are not removed?"
Even fully erupted wisdom teeth can cause problems if there is not enough room in the gum tissue around them to prevent problems. Inadequate room causes problems with cheek irritation, cheek biting, decay, and general problems with hygiene. Unless a larger (panoramic film) has been taken, it is rarely possible to clearly see the areas completely surrounding wisdom teeth that are impacted, or still under the gums and in the bone. Even though you may not initially have symptoms, cysts and other problems can develop around impacted or embedded teeth, and these can only be seen clearly on a panoramic type film. Some cysts are considered benign tumors, and these can be more destructive to the jaw.
Q: "When should my wisdom teeth be removed?"
Most wisdom teeth are removed around the age of sixteen. Removal of wisdom teeth can be more difficult at a younger age when the teeth are further from the surface. However, not everyone develops wisdom teeth at the same pace, and some x-rays of a sixteen-year-old patient might show what appears to be wisdom teeth developed much less, needing more time before considering surgery. On the same note, some fourteen-year-old patients show signs of an earlier need to remove their wisdom teeth. Every patient is unique, and that is why a consultation and panoramic film is very important. Your oral surgeon is THE expert concerning timing for wisdom teeth removal.
Time May Be of the Essence When it Comes to Wisdom Teeth!
Patients who seek regular dental visits will be more likely to be alerted to potential problems with their teeth by their dentist. Those who wait until they have developed pain or infection have waited too long. Waiting too long puts the teeth in front of the wisdom teeth at risk of decay, which depending on the position of the teeth can be very difficult for an oral surgeon to fix. Keep in mind that recovery from any surgery is quicker and easier when we are young. Removal of impacted wisdom teeth, especially when there is more than one removed at a time, is routinely accomplished with you either asleep or deeply sedated. Oral surgeons are the experts when it comes to evaluation and removal of wisdom teeth.
Are you ready to remove wisdom teeth? Contact us to schedule a consultation.
Great job overall! I had little pain in my mouth for the whole time. They took care of me very well and I’m impressed. Overall, outstanding job and I would recommend you all to someone that is in need of your services.
I was referred to Dr. Redmon by my dentist who was not able to numb my jaw enough to extract a tooth and thought it would require anesthesia. After an examination Dr. Redmon asked if he could try to numb the tooth before he had to anesthetized me to which I agreed. He thoroughly explained everything he was going to do. The injections were virtually painless and within 30 minutes my jaw was numb, the tooth removed and the entire procedure was over. They fully explained how to care for the extraction area and followed it all up with a phone call from Dr. Redmond himself that evening. The entire experience was very through and professional. I would gladly recommend him for anyone even a young child.
Thank GOODNESS for Dr. Redmon and his staff!!! Dr. Redmon went out of his way to be accommodating to my schedule, my budget and my fear of extractions!! I was very impressed by his knowledgeable staff and the genuine care and concern that they all seemed to have for me and my recovery. Before the anesthetic had fully worn off, Dr. Redmon was already giving me a call to check and make sure I was pain free and that if I had any issues that I should give him a call. Dr. Redmon is an amazing oral surgeon and just a really wonderful man on top of it all. If you have to have oral surgery in Winchester for ANY reason, there is nowhere else in this area I would go. I will recommend him to any one who needs similar service and I can’t say that about any other dental experience I have had. Thank you, thank you, thank you Dr. Redmon!!!
My family has know Dr. Redmon since he moved to Winchester. He has treated our whole family at one time or another. He has helped me in many ways. His caring ways and compassion is only two of his many attributes. All that has been said about him in these testimonials are very true. His staff love working with him and his patients, well what can I say, We love him too.
Years ago when I had a tooth removed I had the most painful,experience of my life. When my General Dentist advised me to have two molars on each side of my lower jaw removed I was beyond terrified. I knew that there was no way for me to undergo the procedure without some type of twilight medication. Dr Redmon is a participating provider with my dental,insurance so I called his office. I had a consult the next day. His office staff was so warm and welcoming.
New X-rays had to be taken because the ones my general dentist there were some different angles needed. That was quick and efficient and then I met with Dr.Redmon. he was so nice and explained everything clearly. He was very reassuring. After I met with him I met with the insurance claim specialist who had all the figures for costs and reimbursements clearly defined. The next morning I arrived 15 minutes prior to my appt.time and was promptly taken back into the treatment room. Dr Redmon quickly and painlessly inserted the needle to deliver the sedative and within 10 seconds I was completely out. Next thing I knew he was patting me on my shoulder and telling me I was done. Total,time start to finish about 30 minutes. Even though my husband was there Dr Redmon and a assistant walked me out to the car. My mouth was packed with gauze of course but the bleeding stopped quickly and I only needed to,replace the gauze once. Dr. Redmon gave me a prescription for a pain medication but I never needed more than a Motrin that afternoon. It has been 4 days now and except for a bit of soreness in the gum on one side of my jaw I am totally recovered. I give Dr. Redmon and his staff 5 stars and would absolutely recommend him.
Excellent Surgeon! I found Dr. Redmon to be very gentle, caring, and compassionate during the surgery that he provided in removing wisdom teeth for all 3 of my children. All had a smooth and uneventful recovery. His staff were highly knowledgeable and very helpful in filing our insurance and explaining our benefits. This office is very professional as well as friendly and I would highly recommend Dr. Redmon for any oral surgery needs that anyone may have. Thanks Dr. Redmon!
While visiting family in Charles Town, Wv, the protective cap on my new dental implant came off. With just over two days before my return flight to San Diego, Ca., I was scrambling to find a dentist to replace the cap before any damabe came to the new implant.
I found Dr. Redmon’s practice on the internet and he had great reviews. I called his office and his receptionist was able to schedule me on very short notice. Two hours later and I was sitting in the waiting room filling out the new patient questionnaire. Dr. Redmon was able to replace the protective cap even though it was a different system than the one uses. He also gave me some information and advice regarding dental implants that my dentist hadn’t given me.
Thanks to Dr. Redmon’s professionalism, knowledge and his courteous and very helpful staff, I didn’t suffer any further discomfort or lengthen the healing process of my new implant.
The staff and Dr. Redmon were wonderful! They explained everything to me and put me totally at ease prior to the surgery. I even received a call from Dr. Redmon later that evening checking up on me.
When I was told I had to have all my upper teeth removed because of abcesses I was scared. I got a quote from an oral surgeon, but I didn’t feel comfortable with that surgeon. My second opinion and quote was with Dr. Redmon and I am so glad I got that second opinion. It truly was a great experience and Dr Redmon and his staff are wonderful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Thank you to Dr. Redmon and your staff for caring for me and my tooth! I want to express my gratitude to everyone. Everyone in the office functioned exceptionally well. They were compassionate and their priority was patient-centered care!
A few years back I had a lower tooth removed. That made two that I was missing now. One on each side. I was referred to Dr. Redmon by my dentist. He told me that he was a good guy and an excellent oral surgeon. I thought that since they where in the same building that I would give him a try. Now two implant later it was the best decision I have made. They both were painless. Dr. Redmon is very gentle and a good man. Him and his staff make you welcome. You feel like you are visiting a friend. If I have to lose another tooth, I will not hesitate to call Dr. Redmon. Thank You and your staff for all your caring.
Dr. Redmon and his staff could not have been nicer or more professional. The oral surgery I underwent was painless, which helped as 11 teeth were extracted. Everything is healing fine and I feel that I have received exceptional care.
Dr. Redmon and his staff were wonderful. They took care to explain the medical procedure to me, answering any questions or concerns I had without making me feel as though I was silly for being nervous about having my wisdom teeth removed. The procedure went so smoothly and my recovery was much quicker than I had anticipated since the staff gave great direction on the keys to a smooth recovery. A very caring, friendly office with lots of experience. Thank you for making my experience a good one! 🙂
Dr. Redmon and his staff were phenomenal! They did a fantastic job. From the minute I walked in there for a consult to the second that I woke up from the surgery, they took great care of me. You all are the best, thanks for your wonderful services!
Dr. Redmon and his team really do go the extra mile to make their patients feel comfortable, even those with crazy needle anxiety! Wisdom tooth removal was made tolerable thanks to these fabulous people!
I am one of those people who are absolutely terrified of dentists so calling Dr. Redmon was a real challenge for me. I did my research on him and called to make an appointment to have 2 teeth extracted. I have never felt so comfortable or had a dentist’s office treat me with such care. They made me completely relaxed and the thing that impressed me most of all was after the surgery, both Dr. Redmon and his nurse walked me to my vehicle, even though my husband was there. Dr. Redmon and his staff are the most wonderful group of people I have ever encountered and I would recommend them to anyone, especially those who are apprehensive about dentists. I give Dr. Redmon and his staff 10 stars and would not hesitate to call them again. Thank you for being such a caring group of peopl
Dr. Redmon and his staff are the best, truly. I had a tooth pulled and an implant put in its’ place. The only pain I ever felt were the novacaine shots. Dr. Redmon is calm, cool, and friendly. He always explains what he is about to do, how it might feel, and to let him know if you are experiencing any pain. Going to his office was like going to see friends of mine. Everyone is so nice. It was sad to leave. This may seem strange but I actually hope I have the need of an oral surgeon again someday so that I can go back to him !!