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Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last teeth to erupt in your mouth. This usually occurs between the ages of 17 and 21.  Often they are not needed for chewing and they are difficult to clean.  If there is enough space in the dental arch, the wisdom teeth may erupt into an upright and functional position. It is important to have regular dental checkups to tract the eruption and condition of your teeth.

What is an Impacted Tooth?
A tooth is referred to as impacted when there is not enough space in the dental arch for the tooth to erupt into place or when its eruption is prevented by gum, bone or another tooth.  Impacted teeth can cause problems such as: (a) infections; (b) damage to adjacent teeth and (c) cysts.

Infection

Damaged Tooth

Cyst

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When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?

Usually between the ages of 16 and 26, when the surrounding bone is less dense and when root formation is incomplete. Waiting until you are older can increase the risk of infection and surgical complications.

How Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Most extractions are performed with some type of sedation, light sedation with nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or conscious sedation with oral and intravenous (IV) medications. Sometimes wisdom teeth can be extracted without sedation using local anesthetics such as Lidocaine. Your dentist can discuss what types of sedation are available and best suited for you.

What Can I Expect After  Surgery?

Most patients experience some degree of swelling and discomfort which is part of the normal healing process. Steroid medications and cold compresses can minimize any swelling and discomfort can be controlled with Advil or pain medications. Numbness or tingling in the face, lip or jaw after surgery is possibly but sensation usually returns in a few days. Dry sockets occasionally occur when the blood clot breaks down sooner than normal and can be treated with saline irrigation and a special dressing in the socket. Contact your dentist if you notice these symptoms.

 

Members of:
Academy of General Dentistry
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Americn Dental Association

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Drs. Elam, Vaughan and Fleming
2125 Blakemore Nashville TN, 37212
Phone: (615) 383-3690

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