The Wisdom Teeth are the last set of molars. There are normally 28 teeth in the mouth (incisors, canines, bicuspids and molars). They serve to grasp, chew and grind food making it easy to swallow. The Wisdom Teeth are four extra teeth behind the back molars that can erupt but often are impacted in the jaw. This is because most people do not have sufficient room in their jaw/mouth for these teeth to erupt properly.
Consultation appointment/Why do Wisdom Teeth need to be removed?
A consultation appointment is necessary for several reasons. First, Dr. Truitt will determine the position of the Wisdom Teeth by oral examination and X-ray. Properly aligned Wisdom Teeth with healthy gum tissue do not need to be removed. Removal is warranted when the wisdom teeth are impacted or improperly erupted. Due to lack of space, the wisdom teeth can grow in many different positions causing problems such as pain, which can become chronic in nature.
If the Wisdom Teeth grow in a positon that causes them to only partially erupt from the gum, bacteria can get trapped in the openings around them, causing inflammation. This will lead to infection, swelling, pain, stiffness and long term damage to the surrounding gums, jawbone and teeth.Â Wisdom teeth without sufficient room to grow can also place pressure on other teeth causing them to shift from their natural positions, resulting in crowding and crooked teeth. When cysts or tumors are present around the wisdom teeth they need to be removed. All teeth develop from a hollow ball of tissue called a follicle. As the tooth erupts through the gum tissue, the follicle disappears. If the wisdom tooth remains impacted, cysts and tumors can develop from the follicle. These cysts and tumors can destroy the adjacent jawbone and teeth.
Another reason for the consultation visit is to determine the kind of Anesthesia that is most appropriate for the surgery. Dr. Truitt does not perform “cookie cutter” surgeries. He forms the treatment plan including which type of anesthesia is to be used according to each individual’s needs. The wisdom teeth are not “just teeth,” they are part of a person! That person’s health history, airway issues, pain tolerance and anxiety level must all be considered. There are several types of anesthesia including General or I.V. sedation, Nitrous Oxide (“laughing gas”), Local Anesthesia and Oral Sedation. One of these or a combination may be used to ensure the most pleasant experience possible for the person having surgery. Dr. Truitt’s number one goal is patient safety. He will discuss your options and his recommendations for anesthesia at the consultation.
A few words about Anesthesia:
There are several different kinds of anesthesia and you and Dr. Truitt will decide together which is your best option based on several factors. All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize comfort and safety. Dr. Truitt has specialized training, licensing, and experience to provide various types of anesthesia, allowing patients to select the best alternative. Anesthesia services are provided in an environment of optimum safety, utilizing modern monitoring equipment and staff experienced in all applicable anesthesia techniques.
Depending on the potential difficulty of necessary extractions and your medical health, there are several anesthetic options to use when you have your wisdom teeth removed. The majority of healthy patients receive intravenous (IV) sedation or General Anesthesia. IV medications are given to induce sleep, making you comfortable and unaware of the procedure. Local anesthetic is also administered to keep you comfortable during and after the procedure. Recovery after an IV anesthetic may leave a patient drowsy for the majority of the day; therefore, patients are not allowed to drive a vehicle for 24 hours.
Nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) may be a recommended anesthetic option for patients who are medically compromised, or for patients with wisdom teeth that are less difficult to remove. This gas relaxes you and may take your mind off the procedure but does not put you to sleep. Local anesthetic will also be given to keep you comfortable during the procedure.
The option of receiving only local anesthesia may also be considered and effective in appropriate situations.