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Wisdom Teeth Extractions

Third molars, commonly referred to as wisdom teeth, are usually the last four of 32 teeth to erupt (surface) in the mouth, generally making their appearance between the ages of 17 to 25. They are located at the back of the mouth (top and bottom), near the entrance to the throat. The term “wisdom” stems from the idea that the molars surface at a time typically associated with increased maturity or “wisdom”.

In most cases, inadequate space in the mouth does not allow the wisdom teeth to erupt properly and become fully functional. When this happens, the tooth can become impacted (stuck) in an undesirable or potentially harmful position. If left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth can contribute to infection, damage to other teeth, and possibly cysts or tumors.

There are several types, or degrees, of impaction based on the actual depth of the teeth within the jaw:

Soft Tissue Impaction: The upper portion of the tooth (the crown) has penetrated through the bone, but the gingiva (gum) is covering part or all of the tooth’s crown and has not positioned properly around the tooth. Because it is difficult to keep the area clean, food can become trapped below the gum and cause an infection and/or tooth decay, resulting in pain and swelling.

Partial Bony Impaction: The tooth has partially erupted, but a portion of the crown remains submerged below the gum and surrounding jawbone. Again, because it is difficult to keep the area clean, infection will commonly occur.

Complete Bony Impaction: The tooth is completely encased by jawbone. This will require more complex removal techniques.

Reasons to remove wisdom teeth

While not all wisdom teeth require removal, wisdom teeth extractions are most often performed because of an active problem such as pain, swelling, decay or infection, or as a preventative measure to avoid serious problems in the future. If impaction of one or more wisdom teeth is present, and left untreated, a number of potentially harmful outcomes can occur, including:

  • Damage to nearby teeth: Second molars (the teeth directly in front of the wisdom teeth) can be adversely affected by impacted wisdom teeth, resulting in tooth decay (cavities), periodontal disease (gum disease) and possible bone loss.
  • Disease: Although uncommon, cysts and tumors can occur in the areas surrounding impacted wisdom teeth.
  • Infection: Bacteria and food can become trapped under the gum tissue, resulting in an infection. The infection can cause considerable pain and danger.
  • Tooth Crowding: It has been theorized that impacted wisdom teeth can put pressure on other teeth and cause them to become misaligned (crowded or twisted). This theory isn’t universally accepted by all dental professionals, and it has never been validated by any scientific studies.

Wisdom teeth examination

As with any dental procedure, your dentist will want to initially conduct a thorough examination of the wisdom and surrounding teeth. Panoramic or digital X-rays will be taken in order for your dentist to evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and determine if a current problem exists, or the likelihood of any potential future problems.  The X-rays can also expose additional risk factors, such as deterioration or decay of nearby teeth. Early evaluation and treatment (typically in the mid-teen years) is recommended in order to identify potential problems and to improve the results for patients requiring wisdom teeth extractions. Only after a thorough examination can your dentist provide you with the best options for your particular case.

What does the removal of wisdom teeth involve?

Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure, generally performed under local anesthesia, intravenous (IV) sedation, or general anesthesia by a specially trained dentist in an office surgery suite. The surgery does not require an overnight stay, and you will be released with post-operative instructions and medication (if necessary), to help manage any swelling or discomfort.

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Testimonials

I cannot recommend Dr. Sassani and his team enough. I came into his office in literal tears, I had neglected to go to the dentist for a few years and was paying for it with a very bad infection. Dr. Sassani was very empathetic, his first and foremost goal was to relieve me of my immediate pain, and that he did. From there, he developed a simple plan to get my dental health back in order. That was a few months ago, and today I just went in to finish my crown and get the last few cavities taken care of (we had put a temporary on and waited for the new year for my insurance to renew). I finally have a healthy mouth again and a huge burden of stress has been taken off my shoulders because of this

John A. Yelp 2017

DR Andre Sassani is an artist. He works quickly and gently, handling injections, fillings, crowns and you-name-it with ease. As he works, he asks if your'e ok, tells you what he's doing, answers questions, provides guidance. He is respectful of your time. He is polite to his staff.
Office staff is delightful, professional, kind. Hygenist is gentle and full of information.
It's a win all around.

Yelp Review April 2015

Description of Experience: My husband had two wisdom teeth that were causing him significant pain. In addition, he had not been seeing a dentist regularly for an extended period of time due to unfortunate experiences with dentists earlier in his life.
Member Comments: My husband is still raving about Dr. Sassani. He and his staff were very calming, supportive, informative, and not condescending or judgmental about my husband's dental condition. They were extremely flexible with appointment times and did their best to get him in as soon as possible, even calling when other patients cancelled their appointments to see if he wanted those earlier spots.
When he was finally in the chair, they checked on him during his procedures (cleanings and extractions) frequently to make sure he was comfortable and coping well, and everyone was very friendly. Even when they were having issues with some of his deep cleaning, they remained positive and supportive which really helped my husband overcome his fear of the whole experience. I know my husband is challenging on a good day; they made an excellent impression on his first visit with them, and he will be using them regularly from now on and looks forward to his next visit. That's what I call a success story

S. Freeman Angies list, Oct 2015

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