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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mynsberge & Ruggles Oral Surgery
Our Latest Patient Testimonial
Dr. Mynsberge made my 16 year old son and myself so at ease during his recent wisdom teeth removal because of his calm, caring and intelligent explanations about the surgery. His healing was so excellent his Orthodontist couldn't even tell he had the teeth removed 10 days afterwards. His skill, warmth, sense of humor and energy made us know we picked the right guy to take out my son's teeth! I can't forget to mention how nice, thoughtful and professional his whole staff is! In every aspect of my son's experience in Dr. M's office we found great, kind and helpful people. We couldn't be more pleased we went to Dr. Mynsberge!
- Cathy C
Our Latest Patient Testimonial
I would like an order of 4 wisdom teeth extraction please?! Just kidding! This is how I felt about Dr Mynsberge and his staff. This has got to be the most amazing service I have ever received! Dr. Mynsberge and the staff were just ridiculously amazing. Talk about people that love what they do! Jordan, the assistant is wonderful, attentive and very professional! I had my wisdom tooth extracted about a week ago. The procedure was supposed to take 45 minutes but I swear it felt like 5 minutes. He told me to pick a dream and then BOOM, woke up and told me it's all over! I thought he was kidding! He walked me to the recovery room and explained to me and my wife post op instructions. He even help me walk to my car! They called in my pain prescription upon arrival to the office, so by the time I went down the street to pick them up, the lovely Walgreens staff had it all ready for me. To put the cherry on top, I receive a call from Dr. Mynsberge in the evening to check on my status, ensuring if I was doing okay. Talk about TOP NOTCH SERVICE! I was just blown away by the courtesy and professionalism that he portrays; and he is so sincere. He's also a very talkative and funny guy too. Hell, I wish I could work for him. A great man with a great staff. Oral surgery will never get better than Dr. Mynsberge. I HIGHLY recommend going to him for your oral surgery needs.
- Paul S
Our Latest Patient Testimonial
Amazing was what my son wrote on a piece of paper right after surgery. Dr. Mynsberge was so awesome. I think he has a way with teenagers who get their wisdoms pulled and it was a great experience all around. If I had to have mine pulled out again I would go there. The staff, the patience, the waiting room - ALL WERE AMAZING. And Dr. Mynsberge is very cute too 🙂 My daughter is next...we will go there again no doubt. Thank you Thank you !
- Viji V