Wisdom teeth are molars found in the very back of your mouth. They usually appear in the late teens or early twenties, but they may become impacted (fail to erupt) due to lack of room in the jaw or angle of entry. When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it may need to be removed. If it is not removed, you may develop gum tenderness, swelling, or even severe pain. Impacted wisdom teeth that are partially or fully erupted tend to be quite difficult to clean and are susceptible to tooth decay, recurring infections, and even gum disease.
Wisdom teeth are typically removed in the late teens or early twenties because there is a greater chance that the roots have not fully formed and the bone surrounding the teeth is less dense. These two factors can make extraction easier as well as shorten the recovery time.
In order to remove a wisdom tooth, Dr. Chen first needs to numb the area around it with a local anesthetic. Since the impacted tooth may still be under the gums and embedded in your jaw bone, he will need to remove a portion of the covering bone to extract the tooth. In order to minimize the amount of bone that is removed with the tooth, he will often “section” your wisdom tooth so that each piece can be removed through a small opening in the bone.
Once your wisdom teeth have been extracted, the healing process begins. Depending on the degree of difficulty related to the extraction, healing time varies. Dr. Chen will share with you what to expect and provide instructions for a comfortable, efficient healing process.