Wisdom Teeth Removal Greenbrae CA

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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.

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

Infection:

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

 

Wisdom Tooth Removal Overview

For a brief narrated overview of the wisdom tooth removal process, please click the image below. It will launch our educational MiniModule in a separate window that may answer some of your questions about wisdom teeth.

Wisdom Tooth Removal Overview

Mynsberge & Ruggles Oral Surgery

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

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Absolutely the best dental experience ever (oxymoron?) . Imagine having a wisdom tooth pulled with no significant pain during or after the procedure- I didn't even get to use the prescribed Percocet as Ibuprofen for 24 hours was sufficient. Dr. Mynesberge and staff did a great job of thoroughly explaining procedures and follow up. And they are all quite friendly and helpful. I highly recommend them should you need these services. I Can't guarantee your situation will be as painless as mine, but they will do their best to help. Grandpa Bill in Mill Valley

- Bill J

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Referred from my dentist, Matthew Mynseberge and his staff were an absolute delight to have perform my wisdom tooth removal surgery. I had considerable anxiety about the anesthetic injection, but his staff put me at ease and ensured I never felt anything unpleasant. In fact, I actually said after my surgery while still feeling the anesthetic silliness, "that was FUN!!!". I felt that he had a high level of expertise and all around great practice.

- Settie F

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Dr. Mynsberge's office was recommended to me by a very good friend. I was so glad to have my wisdom teeth removed by him. He is an amazing doctor and all his staff was very courteous and friendly. They all made my experience there so pleasant and made me feel calm and safe. They are an amazing team!

- Ana G

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

This was my second easy and effortless experience at Dr. Mynsberge and Ruggles office. They certainly put me at ease right away. The office runs smoothly with everyone putting your needs first. The first wisdom tooth extraction was with a local. It went very well. The second, a lower one, was even better after opting to be put out. I'd highly recommend choosing these guys. They are pleasant and professional.

- Jill P

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Could not be happier or more impressed by my experience here. I was dreading getting my wisdom tooth out (33 years after the last one) and it turned into a wonderful experience.

- Bill A

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

When the surgeon calls you the night of your son's wisdom teeth removal to check up on him, you know you've chosen the right place! Dr. Rugggles and his staff were so helpful in every way!

- Lara R

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

The pediatric dentist recommended Dr. Mynsberge for my son's wisdom teeth removal, and we were entirely pleased with the whole process - pre-visit, surgery, follow-up call, suggested meds, and post-op visit. This was an efficient, excellent experience.

- Susie B

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Both of my teenagers had their wisdom teeth out one month apart. We saw Dr Ruggles and Dr Mynsberge and had an outstanding experience with both. They were kind and attentive, and put my kids at ease. The procedures were done smoothly with minimal swelling and discomfort. The entire office staff are incredibly kind and helpful. They gave me all the information I needed to take good care of them. I can't recommend them highly enough. They are the absolute best at what they do!

- Beth K

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

As good as it gets well deserved 5 stars. My daughter had her wisdom teeth removed at age 12. She was young and had a tiny mouth with huge teeth and was causing havoc for her other teeth so had to be removed. Dr. Mysberge was probably the kindest doctor I've ever met and took amazing care of her. Now, two years later I had an incident with a toothbrush getting lodged 2" into my cheek, creating a pocket between inner and outer cheek that had to be removed and stitched up in the ER. I went in just to ask if a Dr. could take a look just to make sure I was healing ok and they got me in right away on a busy Friday afternoon and for free removed my stitches and gave me an antibiotic mouthwash and again couldn't have been kinder from the front desk to the nurse to Dr. Ruggles who helped me today. I am so grateful. If only all doctors and their offices could run like this one.

- L F

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

I went with my son for removal of his 4 wisdom teeth. Dr. Mynsberge took care of him. He deserves 5 stars! The operation went very smooth. Dr. Mynsberge took great care of my son. The recovery went fast without any complications. I would highly recommend Dr. Mynsberge as your oral surgeon.

- Lydia W

5 out of 5 stars on