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Oral Surgeons and Wisdom Tooth FAQ

Q. What is an oral surgeon?

A. An oral surgeon is a dentist that performs many aspects of surgery in and about the head area including wisdom tooth removal. They can perform simple to extremely difficult extractions, such as wisdom teeth extraction. They also perform dental biopsies and remove tumors in the head and neck region. Most place implants in the jaw for future restorations and do complex jaw realignment surgeries. They usually have four or more years of continuing education after graduating dental school, and most limit their practice to only oral surgery.

Q. What is oral surgery?

A. Oral and maxillofacial surgery is the specialty of dentistry that includes diagnosis, surgical, and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries, and defects involving both the functional and esthetic aspects of the head, face, mouth, teeth, gums, jaws, and neck. An example of oral surgery would be extracting an impacted wisdom tooth or even extracting multiple impacted wisdom teeth.

Q. What are wisdom teeth?

A. Wisdom teeth are third molars. Normally people have three permanent molars that develop in each quadrant of the mouth; upper, lower, right and left. The first molars usually grow into the mouth at around six years of age. The second molars grow in at around age 12.

The third molars, wisdom teeth, usually will try to grow in at around age 18 to 20 years. Since that is considered to be the age when people become wiser, third molars gained the nickname, "wisdom teeth".

Actually, wisdom teeth are no different than any other tooth except that they are the last teeth to erupt, or grow into the mouth. Wisdom teeth are just as useful as any other tooth if they grow in properly, have a proper bite relationship, and have healthy gum tissue around them.

Q. Why do wisdom teeth cause problems?

A. Wisdom teeth cause problems because the shape of the modern human mouth may be too small to accommodate these teeth. As a result, they become impacted, or unable to come in or move into their proper place.

When wisdom teeth are prevented from erupting into the mouth properly, they are referred to as impacted. Teeth that have not erupted are not necessarily impacted. It may be that it is still too early in someone's dental development, and if time passes they might grow in properly. A dentist must examine a patient's mouth and his or her x-rays to determine if the teeth are impacted or will not grow in properly.

Impacted wisdom teeth may cause problems. Impacted wisdom teeth can result in infection, decay of adjacent teeth, gum disease or formation of a cyst or tumor from the follicle, which is the tissue which formed the crown of the tooth. Many dentists recommend removal of impacted wisdom teeth to prevent potential problems.

Q. What problems occur from partially erupted wisdom teeth?

A. Partially erupted wisdom teeth are breeding grounds for bacteria and germs that may cause infection, and cysts and tumors may grow on a trapped wisdom tooth. Jaw pain and gum disease may occur.

Partially erupted wisdom teeth can cause problems with the teeth in front of them, such as decay, bone loss, or root resorption. Any soft tissue which may is partially covering them is subject to infection. Again, if any of your wisdom teeth are partially erupted, you may want to carefully consider extraction. Not all wisdom teeth cause problems.

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Agave Dental
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Beth Hamann

Brent Call

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Agave Dental
4235 N. 32nd. Street
Suite C
Phoenix, AZ 85018
General Info: (602) 957-2411

 Call for an appointment:
(602) 957-2411

Make an Appointment