Wisdom Teeth Removal
Wisdom Tooth Extraction in Charlotte, NC
Greater Charlotte Oral and Facial Surgery offers high-quality wisdom tooth removal procedures to patients of all ages. As our experienced and trusted oral surgeons perform wisdom tooth extraction procedures at three convenient locations in the greater Charlotte area.
Why Should I Have Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last teeth to erupt or break through the gum line and into the mouth. For most people, this usually happens between the ages of 17 and 25. But for others, wisdom teeth stay below the gum surface.
While wisdom teeth helped our ancestors eat raw meat, today we've evolved such that wisdom teeth don't really serve a purpose. In fact, wisdom teeth do more harm than good if not removed. It's recommended that wisdom teeth are removed during the early to mid-teen years in an effort to prevent the oral health complications that are so common with untreated wisdom teeth.
Removing wisdom teeth as a preventative measure before they've erupted into the mouth is quite common. In fact, removing wisdom teeth before they can affect your oral health is a stance that most dental health professionals take because untreated wisdom teeth are known for causing so many unnecessary complications.
Complications from wisdom teeth can include:
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
While some wisdom teeth will break through into your mouth, impacted wisdom teeth are the ones that get stuck below the gum line and never surface in your mouth. Below the surface of your gums, impacted teeth grow at odd angles causing complications.
Wisdom Tooth Infection
When wisdom teeth only partially emerge from beneath the gums or do not fully erupt, they are challenging to keep clean. The partial opening in the gums creates room for bacteria to enter the tooth and the gums. When infection from the bacteria begins to formulate, many individuals experience pain, jaw stiffness, and swelling. This infection can spread to other healthy teeth in your mouth, as well as the rest of your body.
Dental Crowding or Shifting
It is not uncommon for wisdom teeth to show horizontal growth beneath or above the gum line. When wisdom teeth grow horizontally, they may grow toward or away from the second molar or even inward toward the tongue or outward toward the cheek. This abnormal growth pattern has the potential to push the rest of the teeth out of alignment or to damage adjacent teeth, jaw bone, or nerves in the mouth. This is not only painful but also inhibits the ability to eat or bite down. Additionally, crowding or shifting can stress muscles and joints in the jaw exposing patients to jaw fractures.
Wisdom Tooth Cysts
Within the jawbone, wisdom teeth develop in a sac. The sac surrounding the impacted tooth can become filled with fluid and enlarge, causing a cyst. Cysts may result in the hollowing out of the jaw and permanent damage to adjacent teeth, surrounding bone, and nerves. Rarely, a tumor may develop from an untreated cyst's walls, and a more serious surgical procedure may be required to remove it.
When left untreated, wisdom teeth most commonly cause pain. Not only do people feel pain and soreness at the site of wisdom teeth but also in and around the jaw, ear, throat, or face.
These complications from untreated wisdom teeth are common and totally preventable if wisdom teeth are removed. Treating these complications can be expensive, painful, and even extensive in nature. Many dental health professionals agree that removing wisdom teeth early is an investment in your oral health.
When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?
The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons strongly recommends wisdom teeth removal by the time the patient is a young adult. Wisdom teeth in patients who are in their early to mid-teen years tend to be smaller and underdeveloped. For this reason, adolescence is an ideal time for many patients to have their wisdom teeth removed. The underdeveloped wisdom teeth are easier to remove, and younger patients tend to heal faster and have a smoother recovery. Fewer complications tend to be experienced by younger patients, such as bleeding, swelling, and discomfort.
When your child sees your dentist for regular checkups, they will monitor wisdom teeth growth through X-rays or other diagnostic scans. Once your dentist feels the time is right for removal, they can refer to an oral surgeon for treatment.
It is not recommended to wait until your wisdom teeth start to bother you to seek treatment and removal. In general, it is best to get wisdom teeth removed early to ensure a less complicated healing process.
Removing Wisdom Teeth for Adults
Research has found that older patients may be at greater risk for disease as a result of their wisdom teeth still being in place. Periodontitis in the tissues surrounding the third molars and adjacent teeth can affect general health in addition to oral health.
While it is easier to remove undeveloped wisdom teeth during adolescence, adult wisdom teeth can still be extracted. The process and recovery time may take longer and be a little more painful since the roots of the wisdom teeth have had time to more fully develop. Also, adults have higher bone density and an oral surgeon may need to cut out more bone to remove the wisdom tooth.
However, a high-quality oral surgeon with years of experience in wisdom teeth extraction can make the process as smooth and as comfortable as possible. At Greater Charlotte Oral & Facial Surgery, wisdom teeth removal is commonly performed at our state-of-the-art offices in Pineville, Gastonia, and Steele Creek. Dr. Marashi is one of the most experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeons in Charlotte, providing the best of care to their patients.
The Benefits of Having an Oral Surgeon Remove Wisdom Teeth
It is not uncommon for general dentists to offer wisdom teeth removal services to their patients; however, most patients do not realize that not every dental professional is qualified to perform the procedure. There are key benefits to having an oral surgeon remove wisdom teeth.
Surgical Training: Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are required to spend at least 4 years of training in a hands-on, hospital-based residency program in addition to earning their dental degree. After having completed years of training, followed by a residency, oral surgeons learn all there is to know about wisdom teeth removal and the entire maxillofacial area that could be affected by wisdom teeth.
Anesthesia Training: Most people would prefer to have their wisdom tooth extraction under general IV anesthesia versus just using local anesthesia because it is much more comfortable for patients. Oral surgeons train alongside medical anesthesiologists to safely and effectively administer anesthesia. If a dentist is not qualified or trained to administer anesthesia, it can result in deadly consequences.
Some general dentists are able to perform wisdom tooth extractions with proper training, but only oral surgeons are trained and qualified experts on the wisdom teeth removal procedure.
Charlotte Wisdom Tooth Removal Surgery: What to Expect
During your initial consultation, your surgeon will explain what to expect during the wisdom tooth removal procedure and develop the best plan for extraction. Our doctors will consider your medical history and develop an individualized treatment plan to address all of your questions or concerns.
Many patients are nervous when they hear that they need to have their wisdom teeth removed. To ease pain and anxiety during treatment, Greater Charlotte Oral & Facial Surgery offers a range of anesthetic and sedative options including:
Your Charlotte oral surgeon will review these options with you and choose the anesthetic that is right for you. You may be given specific instructions not to eat or drink anything before the procedure based on the anesthetic option you choose.
The wisdom tooth removal procedure length is dependent on the number and position of the wisdom teeth to be removed and the age of the patient. During the procedure, your surgeon will gently open the gum tissue, separate the tooth from the bone, and remove it from the mouth. Sometimes, small stitches will be made in the gum tissue to assist in healing. Most stitches will dissolve on their own after a few days.
Wisdom Tooth Removal Recovery
Immediately following your wisdom teeth surgery, you will be numb from the local anesthetic. As the numbness wears off gradually, you will start feeling some tenderness. This can be managed with NSAIDs and/or pain medication.
To keep from irritating the tender areas that are beginning to heal, it is best to avoid eating hard, chewy, or hot foods that can easily irritate the empty tooth sockets. You will get to easily enjoy smoothies and yogurt during the initial healing period! Anything soft (food you can swallow without chewing) is the perfect meal for after your wisdom teeth removal procedure. If you have any questions about certain foods, please ask us! We are here to help!
You may experience some swelling and mild discomfort following surgery as part of the normal healing process. Cold compresses may help decrease the swelling, and your doctor may prescribe medication to help manage the discomfort. You may be instructed to modify your diet following surgery and later progress to more normal foods. We will give you a full overview of proper post-operative care instructions before your procedure.
Non-Addictive Pain Management for Wisdom Tooth Removal
While recovering from wisdom teeth surgery, our goal is for patients to be comfortable but also safe. That's why we offer patients a new pain management solution: Exparel, a non-opioid medication that helps control pain after wisdom teeth surgery. Exparel releases a local anesthetic at the site of the surgery, offering long-lasting pain relief with just a single dose. Exparel is non-addictive and many patients who get Exparel end up not needing to fill prescription medications.
Cost of Wisdom Tooth Removal in Charlotte
Since every treatment plan is different, the exact cost of your wisdom teeth removal will be unique to you. The number of wisdom teeth extracted, the anesthesia selection, and the type of insurance will all factor into the final cost of wisdom teeth removal.
Greater Charlotte Oral and Facial Surgery accepts several forms of payment and works with many insurance plans to make the cost of wisdom teeth removal services as reasonable as possible for patients. We encourage you to schedule a consultation appointment to receive the most accurate estimate for treatment. You can also review our Financial & Insurance Policy to learn more.
Why Greater Charlotte Oral and Facial Surgery for Wisdom Tooth Removal?
For over 20 years, patients have turned to Greater Charlotte Oral and Facial Surgery for high-quality oral surgery services, including wisdom teeth removal, at our Steele Creek, Pineville, and Gastonia locations.
Our oral surgeon is board-certified and medically trained to treat the mouth, face, and jaw regions, meaning they can address foundational or related issues in addition to removing your wisdom teeth.
At Greater Charlotte Oral and Facial Surgery, patients are treated with the kindness, respect, and dignity they deserve. Our staff is ready to welcome you and your loved ones to our state-of-the-art practice. As trusted oral surgeons, Dr. Marashi and Dr. Coviak take the time to get to know you, order and review diagnostic scans, and develop a treatment plan designed to optimize your oral health. Our Charlotte team strives to make ourselves available to patients whenever they need us - including after hours. If you're in pain or have a question, someone from our team will be there to help you.
Wisdom Teeth Removal FAQs
Why do we have wisdom teeth?
When early humans were still developing, they consumed a much different diet than we have today. This rough diet caused teeth to drift naturally into an arch that could accommodate a third molar in the back of the mouth. The wisdom teeth can be a valuable asset and assist in everyday function. Their broad surfaces and surplus of four or five cusps can assist in grinding food and chewing. Our modern diet of softer foods and the growing prevalence of orthodontic straightening treatments do not allow our teeth to shift and develop in the same way as our early ancestors. The resulting fuller dental arch often doesn't allow the proper space necessary for wisdom teeth to erupt into the mouth. Rather than providing value, they often create oral health problems.
If I can't feel my wisdom teeth, do they still have to be removed?
Many people do not feel their wisdom teeth, but that doesn't mean that they are not there or do not pose any risk. If they are positioned under your gums in a way that will damage or misalign your teeth or if they are at risk for infection, they will be recommended for removal, even if you are asymptomatic.
What is an impacted wisdom tooth and how serious is it?
When a single wisdom tooth or multiple wisdom teeth are trapped beneath the surface of the gums, these teeth are said to be impacted. Because impacted wisdom teeth have not erupted, it makes it difficult for people to know if they have wisdom teeth. Your general dentist will likely detect the presence of incoming wisdom teeth early through conventional X-ray technology during regular visits for cleanings or checkups. Impacted or partially impacted wisdom teeth generally do not grow with proper alignment, leading to pain and infection. Consequently, an oral surgeon will remove them from the mouth.
Must the tooth come out if it hasn't caused any problems yet?
Not all oral issues related to third molars are painful or visible, which means that damage can occur without you being aware of it. A recent study sponsored by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Foundation finds that seemingly healthy third molars may be as prone to disease as third molars that remain impacted. The longer the wisdom teeth are allowed to grow into the mouth, the longer their roots become. These roots can make extraction extremely difficult when not removed early enough and increase the risk for complication as patients age. No one can predict when or if third molar complications will occur. It is best to have wisdom teeth removed to avoid additional pain and more difficult treatment.
Is wisdom tooth removal painful?
Wisdom tooth removal is typically not a painful procedure because the area will be numb with a local anesthetic. In addition, patients can opt for IV anesthesia to make the procedure more comfortable. If at any point during the wisdom teeth removal process you feel pain, you should tell your oral surgeon who can adjust the anesthetic or procedure as necessary.
How long does it take to recover from a wisdom tooth removal?
While the recovery period depends on the individual patent, most people will fully recover from wisdom teeth surgery over the course of 2 weeks. In this time, initial swelling of the cheeks and mouth will gradually decline.
To request a consultation and learn more about our services, please request an appointment now. We look forward to helping you improve your oral health and smile!