Also known as third molars, wisdom teeth are the last teeth to grow in, and most people simply do not have enough room to accommodate these extra molars. Wisdom teeth are often extracted early, before they erupt from the mouth, to prevent the oral health complications that can arise if they go untreated. In general, most dental professionals recommend preventative treatment of wisdom teeth by removing them to avoid unnecessary, painful, and costly complications, such as overcrowding, impaction, infection, pain, cysts, and more.
Your general dentist will monitor the growth and development of your or your child’s wisdom teeth and will recommend an experienced oral surgeon at the appropriate time for removal. Since most wisdom teeth tend to erupt between the ages of 17 and 25, removal of wisdom teeth usually occurs earlier, before they have had a chance to develop in the jaw fully. Younger patients with underdeveloped wisdom teeth tend to experience a smoother procedure and a faster healing time.
Dr. Schow of Bonita Medical Center in Santa Fe, NM, is highly qualified to perform a wide range of oral and maxillofacial surgery services, including wisdom teeth extraction. Bonita Medical Center provides a safe, sterile, and welcoming environment to make every patient as relaxed as possible.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Process
A complete oral evaluation will take place during your first appointment. If necessary, 3D diagnostic scans will also be taken at this time. Your oral surgeon will create an individualized treatment plan based on the position of your teeth, the type of anesthesia to be used, and personal preferences. This is a great time to ask any questions or concerns you may have. You will leave our office after your consultation with pre-operative instructions to prepare for the procedure.
A combination of IV sedation and local anesthesia is the most common anesthesia option for wisdom teeth removal, but other options are available. The type of anesthesia selected for your procedure will depend on your medical history, personal preference, and other factors.
- Local anesthesia. Local anesthesia is localized to the area in and around the surgical site. The patient is completely numb in the area where the oral surgeon performs the procedure and remains comfortable throughout the process. Local anesthesia is commonly used with other types of sedation, such as nitrous oxide.
- Nitrous oxide. Patients who are nervous about their procedure or wish to feel more at ease often opt for nitrous oxide. Also known as laughing gas, this type of sedative is inhaled through the mouth and nose. Patients remain in a conscious but relaxed state throughout the procedure. Nitrous oxide is often used with local anesthesia.
- Intravenous (IV) sedation. IV sedation is a common anesthetic option for wisdom teeth and dental implant patients. As its name implies, IV sedation is administered directly into a vein. The medicine acts quickly, and the patient enters a sleep-like state but does not lose consciousness. One of the common side effects of IV sedation is amnesia — most patients do not remember the procedure afterward.
If a wisdom tooth has already erupted through the gums, the procedure will be similar to any other tooth extraction. If the teeth remain under the gums, a more invasive procedure is necessary to remove them.
Once the anesthesia has been administered and you are completely at ease, an incision will be made through the gums to expose the wisdom teeth. The newly exposed teeth may be extracted in one piece, or broken into smaller sections for easier removal. After the teeth have been successfully removed, the surgical sites are sutured, and you will rest until the anesthesia has worn off.
For patients who have chosen IV sedation, a responsible adult must be present to drive you to and from your wisdom teeth removal appointment, as well as monitor you until the effects of the anesthesia have worn off.
Recovery from any oral surgery procedure requires a few guidelines and proper self-care. We will walk you through your aftercare before your procedure and provide pre- and post-operative instructions for easy reference. A diet consisting of soft foods is recommended for most patients in the immediate days following surgery. The surgical sites should also remain clean during this time to promote healing and avoid complications. Any questions about your care after surgery should be directed to our office.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Cost
Dr. Schow tailors every treatment plan to meet each patient’s needs. Your specific treatment plan, including how many teeth will be extracted and anesthesia selection, insurance coverage, and more will all factor into the final cost of your wisdom tooth extraction procedure.
Bonita Medical Center works with many types of insurance and offers multiple payment options to provide the very best in oral surgery care at a reasonable cost. Please review our Financial & Insurance Options page or give our office a call to learn more.
If you or your child have been recommended for the removal of your wisdom teeth, we encourage you to contact our Santa Fe, NM, practice to schedule a consultation with one of our oral surgeons. This consultation will provide the best cost estimate for your treatment plan.
Investing in Your Oral Health
Left untreated, wisdom teeth can cause a host of oral health problems and complications, such as impaction, dental crowding, infection, and more. Additional oral surgery or orthodontic treatments may be required because of these complications. Proactively removing wisdom teeth can save patients time and money while preserving their oral health.
A patient who is younger when they have their wisdom teeth removed tends to recover faster due to the teeth being underdeveloped and the young person’s natural healing ability. Patients who recover faster can get back to their normal activities, such as work and school, much earlier.
If your wisdom teeth have been recommended for extraction, we encourage you to call our office to schedule a consultation. We work with many insurance plans and accept several forms of payment to make the cost of your oral surgery procedure as reasonable as possible. We will work with you to ensure you receive the right treatment plan and experience your best result. We look forward to caring for you and your loved ones at Bonita Medical Center.
Wisdom Teeth Removal FAQ
What if my wisdom teeth are impacted?
Impaction — where the tooth is partially or completely trapped underneath the gums — is a common occurrence for wisdom teeth. Impaction occurs when a tooth cannot erupt properly into the mouth due to bone or gum tissue blocking the tooth’s path. Left untreated, impacted teeth can cause oral health issues such as dental shifting and infection. Common signs of impaction include
- Swelling, pain, and/or pressure near the back of the jaws
- Pain when opening the mouth
- Persistent bad breath or unpleasant taste in the mouth
If your wisdom teeth are impacted, or you are experiencing signs of an impacted tooth, Bonita Medical Center can help. We encourage you to call our office for a consultation to determine the right treatment plan for you.
Can I prevent my wisdom teeth from becoming impacted?
Unfortunately, impacted wisdom teeth cannot be prevented, but you can take the necessary steps to prevent any oral health complications that may arise from impaction, such as infection and dental shifting. You should see your family dentist at least twice a year and always practice good oral hygiene, like brushing and flossing. Your family dentist will be able to monitor the impacted tooth’s growth and development and can refer to an experienced oral surgeon for diagnosis and treatment before you start to experience any problems.
How do I know if I need my wisdom teeth extracted?
Dental professionals recommend patients have dental examinations twice a year — and for good reason! For children, whose teeth, jaws, and bone structure are continuing to grow and develop, these twice-yearly exams are essential to maintaining good oral and overall health. Your family dentist can monitor the development of your child’s teeth, including wisdom teeth that may not have emerged from the gums yet, to determine the appropriate time to see an oral surgeon about extraction. Of course, if you or your child are experiencing any oral health issues in between visits, such as discomfort, swelling, pain, persistent bad breath, etc., we strongly encourage you to seek a dental examination as soon as possible. Prompt attention to any oral health issues is key to preventing many serious complications.
Is wisdom teeth extraction painful?
At Bonita Medical Center, we do everything we can to ensure our patients are completely at ease before, during, and after their procedure. For most wisdom teeth extractions, a combination of intravenous (IV) sedation and local anesthesia is used. However, some discomfort is to be expected during recovery from any oral surgery procedure. To manage the pain, medication may be prescribed, but many patients find that over-the-counter medications are all they need.
Are wisdom teeth always extracted?
Not necessarily. Most people do not have enough room in their jaws to accommodate these extra molars, but some people do not experience this issue. However, wisdom teeth are notorious for causing a host of oral health problems if they are left untreated, which is why most dental professionals recommend wisdom teeth extraction as a preventative measure. The best way to know if the wisdom teeth need to be extracted is to see your family dentist regularly.
Why do oral surgeons extract wisdom teeth? Why not have my dentist perform this surgery?
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are the most qualified to remove wisdom teeth. They undergo years of specialized training and education beyond dental school to be able to perform a wide range of oral and maxillofacial surgery procedures, including the removal of wisdom teeth. They are also trained in the administration of anesthesia to ensure a safe and successful procedure.
What is the recovery like after wisdom teeth removal?
Most patients resume their normal routines within two to four days following their wisdom tooth removal procedure. To ensure you have a smooth recovery without complications, and to get back to your daily activities as soon as possible, it is important that you follow the pre-operative and post-operative instructions that will be provided for you. Of course, if you have any questions before or after your procedure, please do not hesitate to call our office. We are here for you!
We want you to feel at ease and informed every step of the way. If you have any other questions, please give us a call.