Are you or somebody you know looking to have wisdom teeth extracted? If so, you are in common company. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, 90 percent of Americans have had or will have at least a single impacted wisdom tooth that requires extraction. While it is incredibly common, having wisdom teeth removed is considered a surgical procedure. Because of this, you will most likely have questions about this outpatient procedure. Patients in the Spokane Valley, Washington area visit Dr. Bryan McLelland and Dr. Brenen Olsen and the knowledgeable team at Liberty Oral Surgery for their wisdom teeth inquiries and removals. Here are some of the most common questions asked by their patients.
WHAT ARE WISDOM TEETH?
Wisdom teeth are your third set of molars. These flat teeth are used to grind your food and are the last teeth to break through the gums for most adults. Most adults will have four wisdom teeth in total, although there are occasions where you can have less than four or more than four. They may break through the gums behind your first two sets of molars. It may even be surprising that some adults do not develop any wisdom teeth!
I’VE BEEN TOLD THAT MY WISDOM TEETH ARE IMPACTED, BUT I DO NOT KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS!
Wisdom teeth will typically begin to show on a dental X-ray when you are around 12 years of age. For many individuals, these wisdom teeth will begin to try and break through the gums between the ages of 17 and 25 years. If you have been told that your wisdom teeth are impacted, they are trapped and cannot move into the proper position needed to break through the gums correctly. This obstruction is usually caused by a bone or by other teeth. Because your jaw will not be able to accommodate these wisdom teeth, they become trapped under the gums, and this can cause discomfort.
WHY DO WISDOM TEETH NEED TO BE REMOVED?
While not everybody gets their wisdom teeth removed, it’s estimated that about 90 percent of the population will have at least one removed. The American Dental Association recommends that wisdom teeth be extracted if:
- They become impacted.
- They cause adjacent teeth to shift due to overcrowding.
- They erupt sideways or some other odd position.
- They partially erupt and stop.
- They cause jaw discomfort.
- They become impacted.
- They do not have the necessary room to erupt from the gums.
DOES EVERYBODY HAVE THEIR WISDOM TEETH REMOVED?
Not at all! In some cases, wisdom teeth can grow completely, fit in the mouth without issue, and cause no discomfort. There is no need for wisdom teeth to be removed in this case. They will require monitoring during your regularly scheduled dental exams to ensure there are no negative changes to your dental situation.
WHAT IF I CHOOSE TO KEEP MY WISDOM TEETH?
At the end of the day, the choice is entirely up to you. However, you must consult with your dentist and have an honest discussion about why you would object to having your wisdom teeth removed if this is the recommended action to preserve your oral health. Because they are in the very back of your mouth, wisdom teeth can be challenging to keep clean, and this only becomes more difficult if they grow in at odd angles.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST TO HAVE MY WISDOM TEETH REMOVED?
The cost you incur to have your wisdom teeth will vary from situation to situation. For some people, they may only be having one wisdom tooth removed and only require local anesthesia, while somebody else may need all four removed due to them becoming impacted and requiring general anesthesia. To estimate the cost, you should consult with your oral surgeon and insurance provider. Most insurance providers will cover some portion of the procedure, and your oral surgery office may provide a payment plan for the balance not covered.
If you are interested in learning more about wisdom tooth extraction in the Spokane Valley, Washington area, please reach out to Dr. Bryan McLelland and Dr. Brenen Olsen at Liberty Oral Surgery. They will be more than happy to discuss the wisdom tooth extraction process with you and answer any questions about it. To schedule an appointment at Liberty Oral Surgery, please call (509) 822-2774 today!