San Francisco Wisdom Teeth Removal
Your wisdom teeth, or third molars, are a completely unnecessary byproduct of evolution. Most San Francisco patients only have room in their mouth for 28 teeth. However, many patients come in because some or all four wisdom teeth have begun to erupt and cause severe discomfort. While this adaptation was helpful for our ancestors whose teeth suffered from a lack of dental hygiene, we no longer need these extra teeth and they often need to be removed before they cause problems such as:
- Bite misalignment
- Damage to bone and and adjacent teeth
- Bacterial infection
SF Oral Surgery recommends this multimedia presentation to provide you with a better understanding of wisdom teeth and why they may need to be removed. Many common questions from San Francisco patients pertaining to wisdom teeth are discussed.
When Do Wisdom Teeth Grow In?
Most San Francisco patients will have all of their adult teeth by the time they’re 13. But the wisdom teeth are the last to erupt, probably to replace teeth that our ancestors lost to infection and lack of dental care. Your wisdom teeth usually begin to erupt when you’re between 18 to 24 years old. Although San Francisco patients of all ages come in for wisdom tooth removal, the sooner you come in for treatment, the less risk you’ll develop more serious symptoms.
How Do I Know When My Wisdom Teeth Need Removal?
Because wisdom teeth are the last to erupt, most problems related to wisdom teeth involve teeth crowding in your mouth. The symptoms tied to this can vary from mild to very severe. Here is a list of the most common symptoms that people experience when their wisdom teeth are erupting:
- Swelling. Your gums, jaw, and cheeks are all prone to swelling as your wisdom teeth are coming in.
- Pain. Your jaw and the very back of your gums where the wisdom teeth will erupt often become painful.
- Bad taste. You may taste something bad even though you didn’t eat anything recently. This can lead to bad breath as well.
- Jaw barely opens. More severe cases of swelling and create difficulty opening your jaw fully and cause pain when chewing.
While these are not the only signs that you need to remove your wisdom teeth, they are the most definitive symptoms that your wisdom teeth should be removed in the near future.
Should I Remove My Wisdom Teeth?
While wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure, with about 70% of the population requiring this procedure because their mouths cannot accommodate more than 28 teeth. However, careful assessment by an oral surgeon is required to determine if the wisdom teeth will affect the rest of your teeth or align with your smile. Some problems related to wisdom teeth are:
- Impacted: When your wisdom teeth do not erupt and remain trapped beneath the gum and bone.
- Positioning: Wisdom teeth do not always grow in straight, and if your teeth grow in sideways then they can affect the alignment of your bite and cause other symptoms such as pain and swelling.
- Partial Eruption: Occurs when your wisdom teeth do not have the space to emerge fully. This makes you more susceptible to a type of gum infection called pericoronitis, which can cause muscle spasms in your jaw and the lymph nodes under your chin to swell.
While these problems all require wisdom teeth removal, each condition may cause slightly different symptoms and require a different approach to surgery.
San Francisco Wisdom Teeth Oral Examination
To pinpoint the exact position of your wisdom teeth, Dr. Michael Chan, Dr. William Chan, Dr. Kirsten Rittenbach, and Dr. Brian Yang will evaluate X-rays of your mouth to determine whether removal is necessary. Based on this and a comprehensive oral examination, your oral surgeon will be able to accurately assess the right approach for surgery.
What Will Happen During Wisdom Teeth Removal?
If you do require wisdom teeth removal, your oral surgeon will first administer anesthesia to make you comfortable. SF Oral Surgery recommends that you weigh the options for anesthesia carefully before choosing one and the options will be discussed in more detail during your consultation.
After receiving the anesthesia of your choice, one of the oral surgeons at SF Oral Surgery will:
- Make an incision into your gum line or around the teeth.
- Remove your wisdom teeth.
- Suture the incision with dissolvable stitches.
You will have time to rest after surgery until you are ready to go home with the help of a friend or relative.
Recovering from Wisdom Teeth Removal
Before you leave the office, you will receive instructions on how to care for yourself after surgery and:
- Prescription for pain medication
- Prescription for anti-inflammatories
- Post-operative instructions
You will need to take at least a few days to rest after your surgery and limit your diet to liquids immediately after surgery. As you recover, you should incorporate soft, solid foods to give you the energy to heal. You will have a follow-up appointment approximately one week after surgery to check on your recovery.
To schedule your wisdom teeth removal, contact our San Francisco office at 415-776-6710.