Third Molar (Wisdom Tooth) Surgery

Third Molar (Wisdom Tooth) Surgery

Third molars, or “Wisdom Teeth” as they are often called, are the 4 permanent adult molars located at the back corners of your mouth, on the top and bottom. If wisdom teeth don’t have enough room to emerge and grow into proper alignment – in which case we call them “impacted” wisdom teeth – they can cause pain and infection of the surrounding soft tissues. The wisdom tooth itself may decay because it is difficult to clean. Any of those problems may make the wisdom tooth necessary to remove. Wisdom teeth can be removed by general dentists or by oral surgeons.

Your dentist may recommend removing impacted wisdom teeth to prevent problems from occurring (in what’s known as preventative dentistry). Wisdom teeth are the last permanent teeth to erupt (grow) in the mouth. They usually show up between the ages of 16 and 26. Some (lucky) people never develop wisdom teeth. For others, wisdom teeth erupt into normal alignment, and do not cause any dental problems. However, many people get impacted wisdom teeth.

Why are impacted wisdom teeth a problem?

  • They may grow at an angle toward the back of the mouth.
  • They may grow towards the tooth in front of it, literally leaning into it
  • They may grow at a 90-degree angle to the tooth in front of it, so it looks as though it’s lying down sideways.
  • They may grow straight up and down, but not grow all the way out, so that part of the tooth is still hidden.

What problems can impacted wisdom teeth cause?

  • Pain in the surrounding soft tissues.
  • They can trap food and debris in and around the teeth, resulting in tooth decay and eventually infection of the tooth
  • By being a food trap, often the molar in front of the wisdom tooth will also develop cavities in areas that are difficult to repair, which may lead to that molar having to be extracted as well.
  • Development of cysts around the impacted wisdom teeth. Those can cause extensive jaw bone destruction.

Does wisdom tooth removal hurt?

  • Because third molar removal is considered a surgery, you can expect some pain and discomfort AFTER the procedure. But during the procedure there should be no pain at all. Dr. Chiang and Dr. Goel are skilled in the use of anesthetics and sedation techniques that can help prevent pain during the procedure.
  • It is important that you follow our instructions for post-surgery care. That includes following instructions for home care, and taking medications that Dr. Chiang or Dr. Goel may prescribe. Failure to follow the instructions may result in post-operative complications like dry sockets, swelling, more pain, etc.
  • As mentioned above, we offer several sedation options, including nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) and sedation via anti-anxiety pills (“conscious sedation). We can virtually guarantee a pain-free, anxiety-free procedure.

Convenient wisdom tooth appointments for your whole family

Dr. Chiang and Dr. Goel are skilled and experienced at third molar removal. Preemptively removing wisdom teeth can help prevent potentially serious, life-threatening infections. However, we understand that the procedure, like all dental procedures, is elective. You may choose not to get your wisdom teeth removed right away.  In that case we would monitor the wisdom teeth closely at regular checkups, to screen for signs of infection or tooth decay. If you feel you may need wisdom teeth removal, contact us today at Pure Dental Arts, conveniently located in Queen Anne, Seattle.

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