We Protect Oral Health by Extracting Third Molars

Wisdom teeth are the final teeth to emerge into the mouth, usually around the age of 17. For many people, there isn’t enough room in the mouth to house these extra molars. This is why many dental professionals recommend having wisdom teeth, or third molars, extracted as soon as possible.

At Southern Oral & Facial Surgery in Franklin, Brentwood, and Thompson Station, TN, our doctors ensure that patients feel as comfortable as possible and remain informed throughout treatment. We regularly extract third molars at both of our offices and would be happy to see you for a consultation.

Symptoms of Wisdom Teeth

It’s important to attend regular dental visits with your general dentist. During these appointments, your dentist takes X-rays of your mouth and when wisdom teeth are detected, he or she will refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for extraction. The most common symptom people associate with wisdom teeth is pain. However, third molars do not always cause discomfort. Contact our office if you are in need of extractions or would like an evaluation of your wisdom teeth.

Other symptoms of wisdom teeth include:

  • Swelling
  • Jaw stiffness, tenderness, or pain
  • Gum tenderness or redness
  • Bacterial growth, which can develop into periodontal disease and tooth decay
  • Misalignment
  • Dental overcrowding

Early extraction is recommended because during this stage, the teeth roots are not completely developed and take up less space within the jaw. Younger patients also tend to have speedier recoveries following surgery. However, you can have wisdom teeth removed at any age.

Treating Impacted Wisdom Teeth

When a tooth grows sideways and becomes trapped beneath the gums, it is impacted. An impacted tooth will not erupt into the dental arch and requires surgical intervention. The most commonly impacted teeth are third molars and canine teeth. Because a canine tooth is essential for a proper bite, it is saved and guided into the dental arch through oral surgery and orthodontics. An impacted wisdom tooth, however, is simply removed by an oral surgeon.

When a third molar develops sideways, it can push against other teeth, causing them to fall out of alignment. Wisdom teeth have large roots that can grow into the roots of other teeth or facial nerves, causing severe pain. By having third molars removed, whether they are impacted or not, you are protecting your oral health by avoiding these complications.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery

During your first visit to our office, we will take 3D scans of your mouth and assess your oral health. We will also talk about your options for anesthesia, although patients typically undergo IV sedation for wisdom tooth surgery. Our team of specialists are ready and willing to address any questions or concerns you have about your procedure.

Your oral surgeon will administer IV sedation, which will render you into an unconscious state. Your surgeon will extract visible teeth with forceps and make a small incision in the gum tissue to access impacted teeth. Dissolvable sutures will be placed and you will rest in our recovery area until the anesthesia wears off. Please remember that when undergoing IV sedation, it is your responsibility to arrange for a driver to be present during the surgery, drive you home afterwards, and remain with you for 24 hours.

Types of Anesthesia

There are several anesthesia options available so patients can feel comfortable and at ease during treatment.

A local anesthetic is administered in the specific surgical area and can be used in conjunction with other anesthetic options, such as nitrous oxide. The patient remains awake and only the surgical area is numbed, so the patient can still drive home after.

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is administered through a mask when patients experience anxiety before the procedure. It provides mild pain-relieving effects and induces a relaxed state. Your surgeon can pair laughing gas with local anesthesia.

IV sedation renders a sleep-like state in which patients do not feel pain. This is commonly used in dental implant placement and the removal of wisdom teeth. General anesthesia, which renders the patient unconscious, is reserved for complex procedures, such as facial trauma or jaw surgery.