Wisdom Teeth Removal Greenbrae CA


What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are simply additional molar teeth, which are our wide surfaced teeth used for heavy chewing. They are also known as the “third molars” because they sit behind two other molars (the first and second molars) in each of the four sections or quadrants of our mouths. They are the final teeth to develop in our jaws and tend to begin to grow through the gum tissue into the mouth anywhere from our mid-teens to mid-twenties. Unlike our first and second molars, the vast majority of people do not have adequate room in the jaws for their wisdom teeth to erupt into a useful or hygienic position in the mouth.

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Drs. Mynsberge, Ruggles, and Yang realize that oral surgery can be intimidating, so they pride themselves on making every appointment an easy, enjoyable, and comfortable experience.

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If most people don’t have room for wisdom teeth, why do we have them?

Wisdom teeth are most likely a remnant of both our evolutionary and cultural development. Thousands of years ago, prior to the development of agriculture and modern dentistry, our diets were very tough and we did not have ways of maintaining appropriate dental hygiene. This led to the premature wearing of teeth, loss of teeth, and a larger jaw size due to the strength of chewing necessary for food consumption, all of which allowed for wisdom teeth to erupt more completely into our mouths during our late teens and twenties as a “replacement” chewing tooth. With the development of agriculture and preparation of food, our jaws experienced less functional stresses from chewing, causing them to tend to not grow as large. More recently, the advent of modern dentistry and dental hygiene has allowed us to retain our teeth for longer. Both of these advances have resulted in less space in our jaws for wisdom teeth, yet these teeth are still programmed into our genetics. While a small percentage of the population has “evolved” to only have three, two, one, or even no wisdom teeth, the vast majority of us still have all four.

Why Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

If someone’s wisdom teeth have enough space in the jaws to grow into a useful, hygienic, and healthy position, then removal is not necessary. Unfortunately, this is typically not the case. For most of us, wisdom teeth end up malpositioned with only a portion of the tooth erupted through the gums into the oral cavity and/or pushing against the backside of our second molars. When only part of the wisdom tooth is exposed in the mouth, it becomes exposed to problematic oral bacteria, yet appropriate hygiene is impossible. Subsequently, this poor position of the wisdom tooth can result in any of the following problems:

  • Pericoronitis (inflammation and pain of the gum tissue surrounding the wisdom tooth)
  • Dental caries or “cavities” (not only the wisdom tooth, but also on the second molar tooth in front of it)
  • Periodontitis or bone loss (not only the wisdom tooth, but also on the second molar tooth in front of it)
  • Oral and facial infections that can in rare cases become life threatening
  • Orthodontic crowding and disruption of tooth alignment
  • Rarely, cyst or tumor formation resulting in destruction of the jaw bone and neighboring healthy teeth

Once these problems happen, the resulting detrimental effects are typically irreversible, so prevention is very important. At your consultation, Dr. Mynsberge or Dr. Ruggles will perform an oral examination and review your x-ray to determine if the wisdom teeth are currently causing or have potential to cause any of the above problems. Scientific studies show that when wisdom tooth removal is necessary, early removal is significantly beneficial in order to shorten recovery time, minimize the risk of complications, and achieve improved bone support and long-term health of the adjacent second molar teeth. Patients should generally be evaluated during the mid-teenage years to determine both the status and position of the wisdom teeth.

Pericoronitis infection on a wisdom tooth


The most frequent clinical problem we see is pericoronitis, (a localized gum infection). Without enough room for total eruption, the gum tissue around the wisdom tooth can become irritated and infected, resulting in recurrent pain, swelling, and problems with chewing and/or swallowing.

Cyst formation on a wisdom tooth

Cyst Formation:

Non-infectious diseases may also arise in association with an impacted wisdom tooth. Cysts are fluid-filled “balloons” inside the jawbone that develop as a result of impacted teeth and slowly expand destroying adjacent jawbone and occasionally teeth. They can be very difficult to treat if your wisdom teeth are not removed in your teenage years. Although rare, tumors can be associated with the delayed removal of wisdom teeth.

Teeth crowding caused by a wisdom tooth

Possible Crowding:

Impacted wisdom teeth may contribute to crowding of your teeth. This is most noticeable with the front teeth, primarily the lower front teeth and is most commonly seen after a patient has had braces. There are a number of factors that cause teeth to crowd after braces or in early adulthood. Retained, impacted wisdom teeth may be a contributing factor. Unless you have an active problem when you see the oral surgeon, the reason for removal is primarily to prevent long-term damage to your teeth, gums and jawbone.

Wisdom tooth damaging an adjacent tooth

Damage to Adjacent Teeth:

If there is inadequate room to clean around the wisdom tooth, the tooth directly in front, the second molar, can be adversely affected resulting in gum disease, bone loss around the tooth, and/or decay.

What is the surgery and recovery like?

Drs. Mynsberge and Ruggles realize that wisdom tooth removal is most patients’ first experience at an oral surgeon’s office and can be intimidating, so they pride themselves on making the surgery an easy, comfortable, and even enjoyable experience. In order to maximize comfort and alleviate anxiety, Drs. Mynsberge and Ruggles are not only gentle and caring, but are also highly qualified and trained to perform procedures under IV sedation. Most wisdom tooth extractions are performed under this level of anesthesia, which is extremely safe when performed by an experienced and properly trained specialists like Dr. Mynsberge and Dr. Ruggles. For the anesthesia, medications are administered through an IV, which induces a calm, sleeplike state and eliminates any recollection of the procedure. Once the surgery is complete, you are peacefully awakened, experience no pain due to the numbing medication given while you were sleeping, and are moved to a recovery room where you relax for a period of time prior to going home. Once home, the numbing medication typically lasts for 8-12 hours and eliminates any discomfort usually for the entire day of surgery. After that, most people have normal post-operative soreness and swelling that peaks around 2-3 days after surgery, but is well controlled with icing and oral pain medication. A weekend of recovery is generally quite sufficient for most patients. A brief one-week follow-up appointment is typically necessary after surgery to evaluate post-operative healing, give hygiene instructions, and answer any questions that you may have. Drs. Mynsberge and Ruggles are proud to have their patients leave the office with the utmost satisfaction with the care that they have received.

Wisdom Teeth Presentations

To provide you with a better understanding of wisdom teeth, we have provided the following multimedia presentations. Many common questions pertaining to wisdom teeth are discussed.


Wisdom Teeth Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of wisdom teeth, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to wisdom teeth are discussed.

Wisdom Teeth Presentation


Mynsberge, Ruggles & Yang Oral Surgery

5 out of 5 stars based on 43 Wisdom Teeth reviews.

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

I had a bad infection due to my impacted wisdom teeth. It was very painful. I called their office that day, met with Dr. Mynsberge a few hours later, and was amazed at how accommodating his team was. Dr. Ruggles saw me the next day and skillfully handled the rest. Can't say enough good things about their practice to my friends and family. Highly recommend.

- Johnny X

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Such a shame. There I was, having a blast, hugely entertained by Dr Ruggles and team, snug as a bug a rug in this super awesome comfy chair and blanket, floating happily on a whiff of laughing gas and marveling at how he managed to stick quite so many needles in my face to numb it up without causing any pain. And he goes and whips my wisdom tooth out in like 3 seconds ...and I have to leave the party and go home. Thank you everyone. Fast scheduling, clear, unhurried, impeccable customer care. Lovely people. Dear Tooth Fairy, I'm 51 years old, do you offer wine?

- Penny M

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Amazing office from the lovely ladies at the front desk, to the amazing assistants and nurses and of course Dr Ruggles can't be beat! Dr Ruggles and his staff took very good care of my 15 year old while removing all four of her wisdom teeth! I highly recommend Dr Ruggles and his entire staff!

- Jennifer C

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Doctor M is outstanding. The experience is relaxing, especially with the gas, music and happy juice. The recovery was pretty much pain free because of the post-op protocol provided by the office. I was apprehensive, but all went extremely well I'd certainly recommend Dr. M without reservation. . .

- Cliff M

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

My two top wisdom teeth were starting to erupt and hurt so I asked to have them removed. I was recommended Dr Ruggles by my dentist as he comes in to the city every 2 weeks to do oral surgery there. From the moment I booked my appointment, it was the best service I have ever had. Dr Ruggles sent an email with directions on what to do before and after the surgery along with a video. I decided not to go to sleep for my surgery and I can honestly say I felt nothing during the procedure. Dr Ruggles made sure that I was completely at ease and talked me through everything that he was doing. I was worried that the injections would hurt but he used numbing cream beforehand which changed everything. I stayed on soft foods for the same day as the procedure and Dr Ruggles called me that evening to check and to see if I had any questions. My swelling was minimal as was the pain, so much so that I didn't need pain killers. I would 100% recommend him to everyone!

- Tessa R

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

My top wisdom teeth were painfully stabbing my bottom gums every time I bit down, which made chewing/eating anything extremely painful. Mynsberge & Ruggles' staff was so accommodating, kind and receptive over the phone, and Ruggles was able to squeeze me into his schedule the next day. The procedure itself was very quick, painless, and easy-going. Ruggles was very thoughtful and patient with all of my questions, and demonstrated intelligence and empathy. My recovery after the wisdom tooth procedure was also very quick and painless. I was working out again after a week and eating normal food within a reasonable amount of time. 1000% recommend! Wonderful experience overall - would definitely come back again if I needed another oral procedure. It's a very professional, efficient and well-run office - they know what're they're doing and they do it the best!

- Sophia L

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

These folks are at the TOP of their game and I cannot recommend them highly enough! My teen son had his wisdom teeth pulled a few weeks ago and everything went off without a hitch. They told us exactly what to expect (in person, on paper, online, & video) and after the surgery my son had NO pain. He even ate pizza the very next night (and I flipped OUT) but he just followed Dr. Ruggles' instructions and he is much happier with those teeth gone. Not only excellent doctors but all the staff were fun, efficient, professional, and they genuinely seemed to enjoy their work. Truly the best!

- Kimberley F

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

My son recently had 4 wisdom teeth out and Dr. Mynsberge and his staff were amazing. Within 24 hours after the surgery my son was in no pain. The staff provided excellent instructions on how to reduce swelling, manage pain and experience quick recovery. Not only is Dr. Mynsberge a wonderful oral surgeon but he is also a really nice person. We could not have asked for a more positive experience and outcome. What an experienced and friendly group!

- Mary D

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Tonight i had a wisdom pulled. I was scared to death. Matt was awesome! I can't say enough great things about him. He's personable, witty and really a joy to be around. The whole process took maybe 15 minutes at the most. He was just incredible, and I would recommend him to everyone. I was such a wreck before I had the tooth pulled, and it was over in a flash. If I could rate higher than a 10 I would give him a 20. The staff was incredible as well. He truly is one of a kind and definitely knows what he's doing. Dr. Mynsberge, thank you soooooo much for making this experience the best experience for me. You're a true treasure!

- Jill D

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

I highly recommend Dr. Mynsberge and his office. They did a great job with my son - helping him to feel relaxed and prepared for his wisdom teeth extraction. The job was well done and efficient. The appointments were easy to schedule and the staff helped me with my insurance difficulties. Dr. Mynsberge is very friendly and approachable which is very calming for kids and adults visiting an oral surgeon. As a parent, he helped me understand the process and followed up with a phone call at my home to check in.

- Margie S

5 out of 5 stars on