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What Are Wisdom Teeth?

All About Third Molars

Dentists call wisdom teeth third molars, because they are the third set of molars to develop. Some people never experience any issues with wisdom teeth, while others notice discomfort and other unpleasant symptoms. Not everyone develops third molars, and people who do can develop between one and four or more than four.

Wisdom teeth typically begin to appear between the ages of 17 and 21. These teeth may fully erupt in the back of the mouth without causing issues. However, the average mouth does not have room for an extra set of molars, which often leads to complications.

A wisdom tooth can become partially erupted and trapped beneath the gum tissue. When this occurs, the tooth is considered to be impacted and surgical intervention is almost always necessary.

Safe and Comfortable Wisdom Teeth Removal

The sooner your wisdom teeth are extracted, the better. Our surgeons at Carolinas Center for Oral & Facial Surgery regularly perform wisdom tooth extractions at our offices located in Charlotte, NC, and in both North and South Carolina. Oral surgeons are trained to administer all forms of anesthesia for any type of procedure, unlike general dentists.

For most wisdom teeth extractions, we administer IV sedation. If you choose to undergo IV sedation, you will be able to answer questions asked by your surgeon and wake up with no memory of the surgery. This is different from general anesthesia, which renders the patient completely unconscious. General anesthesia is typically reserved for more complex and lengthy procedures, such as corrective jaw surgery.

All of our offices in Charlotte, NC, and surrounding areas are equipped with state-of-the-art surgical equipment and technology. We use 3D CBCT scans to examine the location, size, and position of wisdom teeth. This leads to a predictable surgical procedure with no surprises. Your health and safety as a patient is at the forefront of everything we do.

Why Should I Go to an Oral Surgeon for Wisdom Tooth Removal?

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are different from general dentists. After earning their dental degree, a dentist can begin practicing with a limited scope of treatments. This includes routine cleanings and checkups, X-rays, detecting issues, and simple tooth extractions. Oral surgeons must continue their training after dental school in what is called an oral and maxillofacial residency.

This additional training lasts for 4–6 years and provides hands-on experience in a surgical setting. Oral surgeons learn how to safely administer all forms of anesthesia and monitor patients during surgery. They can perform a broader scope of treatments and perform complex procedures, such as treatment for facial trauma and orthognathic surgery. Oral surgeons specialize in restorative and preventative dental procedures, including extracting wisdom teeth.

Why Have Wisdom Teeth Removed?

These large teeth are unnecessary for proper oral health and function. You already have first and second molars to grind and chew food. Plus, there simply isn’t enough room in the dental arch for four extra teeth.

Dentists and oral surgeons recommend having them extracted as soon as possible. Your general dentist takes X-rays and will refer you to an oral surgeon when it’s time to have wisdom teeth removed. This is why it is important to attend regular checkups with your dentist.

If left untreated, wisdom teeth can cause damage to other teeth. Impacted teeth grow at an angle, pushing nearby teeth out of alignment. Third molars have unpredictable roots, which could damage other nearby roots or nerves. Impacted wisdom teeth are difficult to keep clean, leading to infection that can spread to the surrounding tissue. Severe infections can cause tooth decay, periodontal disease, and formations of cysts or tumors around the tooth.

To avoid these complications from having the chance to arise, get your wisdom teeth removed as soon as possible. Younger patients often have smoother procedures and faster recoveries because the third molars have not yet fully developed. However, you can have your wisdom teeth extracted at any age.

We Are Here for You

Learn about wisdom teeth removal, schedule an appointment, and more. Carolinas Center for Oral & Facial Surgery has three locations: in Central Charlotte near Myers Park, in South Charlotte near the Ballantyne/Blakeney area, and in North Charlotte near the University of North Carolina. Contact us today.