Every year, there are approximately ten million third molars extracted in the United States. Third molars, commonly known as wisdom teeth, are the last teeth to develop and appear in your mouth. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, wisdom teeth usually develop between the ages of 17 and 25. During development, wisdom teeth can be fully exposed or become impacted. A wisdom tooth is considered to be impacted when it is unable to fully enter the mouth. For the majority of cases, wisdom teeth become impacted because there is a lack of room for the teeth to break through the gums. When impacted teeth are left in the mouth, they may lead to additional complications. One of the major concerns of impacted teeth are that they may damage neighboring teeth or become infected. In some cases, pathologies such as odontogenic cysts and tumors may grow around the base of the wisdom tooth. Additional indications for the removal of an impacted wisdom tooth include: orthodontic considerations, root resorption of adjacent teeth, prevention of jaw fracture and management of unexplained pain.

Due to the risk of complications and pain, patients are often recommended to have their wisdom teeth extracted, especially during young adulthood. If wisdom teeth are extracted before a patient turns 20 years old, the surgery is almost always less complicated. Fewer complications occur due to the fact that the roots are incompletely formed and there is a broader pericoronal space formed by the follicle of the tooth. Extractions can be performed with just local anesthesia. We can also provide an oral sedative and are also trained to administer nitrous oxide or an intravenous sedative to help alleviate the pain. During intravenous sedation, Versed and Fentanyl are administered to the patient with the adjustments of dosage and consciousness made to best fit the patient's specific needs. Versed, in particular, will produce drowsiness and sleepiness to help relieve anxiety before the surgery. Versed will also produce amnesia so that the patient will not remember the procedure and will remain comfortable throughout the surgery and afterwards.

If you currently have fully exposed wisdom teeth, it is still recommended that you have them evaluated for the risk of developing diseases. Even if they are not causing pain, third molars are located in the areas of the mouth that are hard to clean. Since it is more difficult to clean these areas, it may introduce bacteria that could increase the risk of developing periodontal disease.

If you need an evaluation and/or treatment for your impacted wisdom teeth, please call our Tampa periodontist practice. We would be more than happy to assist you.