By the age of 18, the average adult has 32 teeth; 16 teeth on the top and 16 teeth on the bottom. 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 (molar teeth) are used to grind food up into a consistency suitable for swallowing.
The average mouth is made to hold only 28 teeth. It can be 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.”
Why Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt within the mouth. When they align properly and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth do not have to be removed. Unfortunately, this does not generally happen.
Wisdom teeth removal is necessary when they do not properly erupt within the mouth. Wisdom teeth may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum, and even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. This can cause infections, pain, stiffness, movement of the other teeth, or more serious problems such as a tumor or cyst forming around the impacted wisdom teeth, resulting in the destruction of the jawbone and healthy teeth. Early removal of wisdom teeth is often recommended to avoid future problems.
Wisdom Teeth Presentation
To provide you with a better understanding of wisdom teeth, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to wisdom teeth are discussed.
With an oral examination and x-ray, Dr. James can evaluate the position of your wisdom teeth and determine if there are current problems or if problems are likely to develop in the future. 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 an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
In most cases, the removal of wisdom teeth is performed under local anesthesia, oral sedation, or IV anesthesia. These options, as well as the surgical risks (i.e., sensory nerve damage, sinus complications), will be discussed with you before the procedure is performed. Dr. James has the training, license and experience to safely provide various types of anesthesia for patients. All surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize patient comfort.
After the teeth are removed, the gum is sutured. To help control bleeding, bite down on the gauze placed in your mouth. You will rest under our supervision in the office until you are ready to be taken home. Upon discharge, your postoperative kit will include postoperative instructions, any prescriptions given by Dr. James, and a follow-up appointment in one week (if necessary). If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at
When patients hear that they need to have their wisdom teeth removed, the first thing that comes to mind is “I don’t want a dry socket!” Often the patient has a friend or family member who had a bad experience with a dry socket. But what is a dry socket?
When a tooth is extracted, a small blood clot forms in the empty space in the jaw where the tooth was. A dry socket happens when the blood clot doesn’t “stick” correctly and comes out before the jaw fully heals. This can cause pain or other discomfort. Sometimes a dry socket just happens naturally, but it can also be caused by smoking or sucking a drink through a straw too soon after surgery.
A new technique called “PRF” (platelet rich fibrin) is the best solution to prevent dry sockets from occurring. PRF is created by collecting a small sample of your blood and spinning it in a centrifuge. This creates a “super clot” that protects the surgical site and helps speed up the healing process!
The PRF method was developed by Dr. Joseph Choukroun in France and the benefits of PRF have been scientifically documented in numerous journal articles. A recent study in the USA was done using PRF in lower jaw wisdom tooth extractions and compared 100 consecutive patients. The use of PRF dramatically reduced the occurrence of dry sockets to almost zero. Donald R. Hoaglin and Gary K. Lines, “Prevention of Localized Osteitis in Mandibular Third-Molar Sites Using Platelet-Rich Fibrin,” International Journal of Dentistry, vol. 2013, Article ID 875380, 4 pages, 2013. doi:10.1155/2013/875380
Dr. Walter James and his staff are on the cutting edge of medical and surgical technology using scientifically proven techniques which provide optimal patient care with very predictable and long lasting results. Call us today at 318-865-0249 to schedule an appointment!