The average human jaw can accommodate 28 teeth. However, sometime during the late teens or early twenties, about 75% of the population develops four (or more, in some cases) additional molars. These teeth, referred to as wisdom teeth or third molars, can cause crowding if they grow in normally. If they grow in at an angle or don’t fully erupt from the jawbone or gums, they can lead to a host of serious oral health issues like tooth decay, damaged cheek tissue, periodontal disease, and even cysts within the jaw. To prevent the development of serious oral health problems, many dentists and oral surgeons recommend extracting problematic third molars once they have fully developed. Today, Shawn Hofkes, DDS, a multi-specialty dentist in Cerritos, CA, provides an easy-to-understand guide to two types of wisdom teeth extraction procedures.
Which Type of Extraction Will You Need?
The number of wisdom teeth a patient will need extracted and the type of extraction they’ll need to have performed varies depending on a number of highly individualized factors.
This type of straightforward extraction is most often performed on wisdom teeth that have fully or partially erupted from the gums but, due to their size or the pre-existing condition of the other teeth, are causing crowding or misalignment. A simple extraction is performed using local anesthesia to numb the site and nitrous oxide or oral sedation if the patient feels particularly anxious about the procedure. Once the patient is completely numb and relaxed, the dentist will use different tools to widen the tooth socket and loosen the tooth. Next, he will extract the tooth. Finally, he will close up the extraction site. Caring for the extraction site is essential for ensuring a quick recovery and avoiding serious problems like dry socket.
If a wisdom tooth has not fully erupted from the gums or jawbone or if it’s impacted in such a way that a simple extraction cannot address the problem, your dentist will recommend a surgical extraction. A more complicated procedure that will necessitate more time in the treatment chair, surgical wisdom teeth extractions are often performed under oral or IV sedation by an oral surgeon or general dentist with post-doctoral training in oral surgery. While a simply extracted tooth can be removed in a single piece, surgical extractions often begin by “sectioning” the tooth into smaller pieces that can be easily extracted. Once the pieces have been removed, stitches and proper post0surgical aftercare are the final step.
About Shawn Hofkes, DDS
With advanced training in oral and maxillofacial surgery and certification in sedation dentistry, Shawn Hofkes, DDS has years of experience performing safe, comfortable wisdom tooth extractions from our comfortable, state-of-the-art dentist office in Cerritos, CA. To schedule your appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.