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average adult has thirty-two teeth by age eighteen; sixteen teeth on
the top and sixteen teeth on the bottom. Each tooth in the mouth has a
specific name and function. The teeth in the front of the mouth
(incisors, canine and bicuspid teeth) are ideal for grasping and biting
food into smaller pieces. The back teeth, or molar teeth, are used to
grind food up into a consistency suitable for swallowing. However, the
average mouth is made to hold only 28 teeth. It can be extremely painful
when 32 teeth try to fit in a mouth that holds only 28 teeth. These
four other teeth are your Third Molars, also known as wisdom teeth.
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt within the mouth. When they
align properly, and the gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth do not have
to be removed. Unfortunately, this does not generally happen. The
extraction of wisdom teeth is necessary when your wisdom teeth are
prevented from properly erupting within the mouth. They may grow
sideways, partially emerge from the gum, even remain trapped beneath the
gum and bone. Impacted teeth can take many positions in the bone as
they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to erupt
These poorly positioned impacted teeth can cause many problems. When
they are partially erupted, the opening around the tooth allows bacteria
to grow and will eventually cause an infection. The result is swelling,
jaw stiffness, pain and illness. The pressure from the erupting wisdom
tooth may cause pain in the general area. The most serious problem
occurs when tumors or cysts form around the impacted wisdom tooth,
resulting in the destruction of the jaw bone and healthy teeth. Removal
of the offending impacted tooth or teeth usually resolves these
problems. Early removal is recommended to avoid such future problems and
to decrease the surgical risk involved with the procedure.
With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, your doctor can
evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there may be
future or present problems. Studies have shown that early evaluation and
treatment result in a superior outcome for the patient. Patients are
generally first evaluated in the mid-teenage years by their dentist,
orthodontist or by your doctor.
All surgery is performed under proper anesthesia. Your doctor has the
training, license and experience to provide various types of anesthesia
to make procedures more comfortable. These services are provided in an
environment of optimum safety, utilizing modern monitoring equipment and
staff experienced in anesthesia techniques.