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

Both of our boys have had their wisdom teeth taken out by Matt. Most recently, our 18 year old. Matt and his staff are so upbeat, relaxed, friendly and professional, they set my boys at ease immediately. The laughing gas didn't hurt either. Our 18 year old flew through the surgery with very little pain or swelling thanks to the addition of anti-inflammatories to his after surgery regime. Amazing!!! Two days later he was off the couch and cheering his former teammates at a wrestling tournament. Our family highly recommends Dr. Mynsberge!!

- Libbi K

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Two boys and eight wisdom teeth later...our family has been so pleased with the professionalism at Dr. Mynsberge's practice that we have shared our experience with everyone we know. All of the staff in the office are kind, competent and efficient. Once you meet Dr. Mynsberge and see how upbeat and fun he is to work with you can see why the office is the way it is. Keep up the good work!

- Susie D

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

I was very nervous about getting my 4 wisdom teeth removed, and had been putting it off. Dr. Ruggles and the entire staff were great; the procedure was as quick and easy as it could be! I called the office a few times with questions, and the front desk was happy to help me. Couldn't have imagined a better experience.

- Aisha J

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

This is the best Oral surgery office in the ENTIRE North Bay. I HIGHLY recommend this place. I came in to get three wisdom teeth extracted. Dr. Ruggles was the surgeon to perform my extraction. He and his team were very professional and kept me calm and comfortable. The day following my surgery I was given a call by Dr. Ruggles as a check up. He answered every question I had and made sure I was okay. If you're looking for great comfort, service, knowledge, precision, and care, please come to this office.

- Jeffrey T

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Dr. Ruggles and staff were first class! I had a wisdom tooth extraction and I couldn't have asked for a better experience. I would highly recommend Dr. Ruggles.

- Luke H

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Very pleased with the outstanding hospitality from the staff, as well as the kind services provided before, during, and after the procedure. Would Definitely recommend to friends and family!

- Gustavo P

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

I had all 4 of my wisdom teeth removed last Friday. I'm 30 years old and was not looking forward to the process. From the original consultation to follow up phone calls over the weekend Dr. Mynsberge and his office provided me with top notch care. I had minimal to no swelling at all and my pain resolved within 24 hours. I felt at ease and comfortable during the procedure and would do it over in a heartbeat if I had to. I would refer anyone I know to Dr. Mynsberge and his team. Customer service and quality care is a lost art these days but it is alive and well at this office.

- Mason M

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

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Our 17 yr. old son James would give him 10 stars if he could! He just had his wisdom teeth removed a couple days after New Years day. Amazing, he only needed Advil and not too much swelling even though one seemed a bit tricky to remove. The gals in the office are fabulous too. We highly recommend him!! Debra

- D D

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Two of my children so far have had their wisdom teeth removed by Dr. Mynsberge and the experience has been terrific. From the initial appointment, to the procedure and follow up, he and his staff have been thorough and a pleasure.

- Alan P

5 out of 5 stars on