Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars and the last teeth to erupt through the gum line. Because our jaws are not designed to accommodate this large number of teeth anymore, the appearance of our wisdom teeth can lead to the development of cysts, abscesses, cavities, or gum disease. These teeth can also cause a number of other oral health concerns, and undesirable symptoms like discomfort. Dr. Roni Berbari provides wisdom tooth removal for patients in and around Montreal, Quebec. If you are between the ages of 16-25 or have noticed any pain or swelling near the back of your mouth, please contact our office to make an appointment with Dr. Berbari.
The Evolution of Wisdom Teeth
During the course of mankind's evolution, which spreads across millions of years, we have had many changes in our diets. Where our early ancestors required a third set of molars to properly crush the foods that they were eating, modern man does not. These changes in diet have brought physical modifications that slowly progress. As the jaws have grown shorter, there is no longer adequate space to accommodate the wisdom teeth as they erupt into the mouth. In fact, many people only have one, two, or three wisdom teeth, or even none.
Wisdom teeth usually appear in the mouth when a patient is in their late teens or early twenties. If their growth is normal and does not disrupt the rest of your tooth alignment, you may not have to worry about them. However, often because of the lack of space, wisdom teeth become inclined or stuck underneath the gum line. This is called an impacted wisdom tooth and it needs to be extracted before damage is caused to the rest of your mouth.
An impacted wisdom tooth that becomes infected can cause excruciating pain. Antibiotics will have to be prescribed and taken before proceeding with the extraction. Sometimes, a cyst can form around the impacted tooth, which can destroy the surrounding bone. If it is not detected at the beginning of the process, this destruction can be permanent and lead to a host of other problems. In addition, wisdom teeth easily become decayed because they are positioned very far in the back of the mouth. This makes them hard to reach and more difficult to clean than other teeth that are situated closer to the front of the mouth.
Because of their location and the difficulty associated with cleaning them, wisdom teeth commonly lead to the development of periodontal disease. Food particles and bacteria can become stuck in the pockets between the wisdom teeth and your gum tissue, leading to gingivitis or the more serious stage of gum disease, called periodontitis. Caught early, gum disease can be treated effectively with prescription mouthwashes and deep cleanings. However, if it is allowed to progress, more extensive surgical procedures may be required to restore your oral health.
When the wisdom teeth erupt into the mouth, they often grown in at an angle. This can cause them to grow too close to the adjacent teeth and damage the bone between the two teeth. If the wisdom tooth is extracted before the age of 25, the bone will heal quickly. If it is pulled later on in life, the bone might be damaged permanently and this can cause sensitivity to the remaining tooth and sometimes even it’s lost.
The Timing of Wisdom Tooth Removal
Dr. Berbari prefers to extract younger patients' wisdom teeth in their teens because this is when the third molars normally erupt through the gum line. Younger patients also have the ability to bounce back and heal from surgical procedures at a much faster rate than older adults. This means the jawbone can regenerate and recover at the extraction site much faster than in an older patient.
By addressing the wisdom teeth when a patient is still young and the molars have not yet fully erupted, Dr. Berbari is able to work around the teeth while the roots are still short. This allows him to avoid coming into contact with the dental nerves that lie just below the roots. Any damage to the nerves could result in temporary or permanent numbness in the lips.
Ensuring Your Comfort
Dr. Berbari goes to great lengths to ensure that all of his patients will remain safe throughout their procedure. We also want to provide our patients with sedative options to make treatments as comfortable as possible. We understand that some patients experience anxiety or phobias related to visiting the dentist. Using sedation during wisdom teeth removal can calm anxieties and keep you comfortable throughout the procedure.
It is important to understand that dental sedatives can produce an amnesiac quality in some patients, so you may not remember much of your procedure. Sedation dentistry candidates must be in good overall health and arrange for transportation home after their procedure, since they will not be able to drive for the remainder of the day. If you choose to receive sedation as a part of your treatment, Dr. Berbari will give you specific pre- and post-operative instructions to follow.
The Extraction Process
Dr. Berbari will perform a routine examination with a panoramic x-ray to determine if your wisdom teeth will need to be removed. If there are signs of impaction or if the wisdom teeth appear to be growing too close to the adjacent teeth, we can schedule your surgery. The removal procedure can typically be completed in about one hour, and most patients will require two to three days of rest following the appointment. Dr. Berbari will let you know if there are any special precautions for your case, such as fasting, but most patients do not need to take any preparatory measures.
Dr. Berbari will start by injecting local anesthesia into the treatment area. After a few minutes, he will make sure the tissue is fully numbed before beginning the procedure. If the wisdom teeth are located beneath the gum line, a small incision will be made to allow Dr. Berbari access to the teeth. While normally erupting wisdom teeth can be extracted with relative ease, impacted third molars may require a more complex approach. Impacted wisdom teeth are often located beneath a thin layer of bone and can be removed more easily one a piece at a time. To use this technique, Dr. Berbari will precisely break the teeth apart into smaller pieces and remove a small portion of jawbone to facilitate easier removal.
Once the tooth or teeth have been completely removed, Dr. Berbari will make sure that there is no excessive bleeding and close the incisions with sutures. One of our assistants will give you specific post-operative instructions to ensure proper healing. Patients can typically expect to experience some swelling, minor pain, and discomfort for the first few days following surgery. Many patients choose to receive an anti-inflammatory injection at the site of their extraction to help stimulate the healing process. This can also reduce symptoms during the recovery process.
Make an Appointment Today
Wisdom tooth extraction is a simple way to protect your oral health and the appearance of your smile. If you or your child have not had your wisdom teeth examined by a reputable professional, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Berbari.