Your third molars, or “wisdom teeth,” are the last set of teeth to develop. Typically, there isn’t room alongside other teeth in the mouth for these molars to emerge properly and comfortably from the gums.
As patients enter their teen years, it’s become a rite of passage to have a wisdom teeth removal procedure to avoid these problems. For older patients in Salt Lake County and Utah County, taking out the wisdom teeth can resolve daily discomfort and ongoing oral health concerns.
Utah Facial & Oral Surgery specializes in wisdom teeth removal and has performed the procedure tens of thousands of times for our patients. Dr. Christopher Price, our practice leader, is a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon with extensive training in IV sedation. This background means that patients can sleep comfortably through their procedure while receiving exceptional care.
Signs and Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Depending on the positioning of your wisdom teeth, you might never realize they are impacted. You may just assume that they never came in. But if these molars are at an angle or only partially erupt through the gum, they can cause pain and increase the risk of infection. You may only have issues with one or two wisdom teeth, or you may experience discomfort from all four. There are several warning signs to be aware of that may indicate your wisdom teeth are impacted and need to be removed. A trip to the oral surgeon may be in order if you have any of these symptoms:
Benefits of Wisdom Teeth Removal
Having your wisdom teeth taken out is a preventative measure with several important benefits:
Protect your smile
As the wisdom teeth erupt from the gums, they can damage or push neighboring teeth out of the way. Surgery eliminates this risk.
Prevent pain and discomfort
Your wisdom teeth may be “impacted” (incapable of emerging from the gums). Over time, their development beneath the surface can cause soreness, swelling, and inflammation.
Safeguard your teeth
In some cases, an impacted wisdom tooth can develop a tumor or cyst around the lining. This can permanently damage nearby healthy teeth and surrounding bone.
Salt Lake County and Utah County patients who have their wisdom teeth extracted in their teens can avoid these complications later in life.
Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Right for You?
You may be a good candidate for the procedure if one of the following applies:
- You are entering your teens and have not yet had your wisdom teeth taken out.
- You’re an older patient experiencing pain, inflammation, or other oral health problems related to your third molars.
General dentists and orthodontists often refer their patients to Dr. Price for an evaluation to see if they should have the procedure. Dr. Price has extensive experience supporting both young patients with relatively simple needs and older patients whose cases are more complex.
Consequences of Not Addressing Impacted Teeth
Ignoring the warning signs of impacted wisdom teeth can not only be painful, but it can lead to other complications, including the risk of infection. Plus, it is easier to remove these extra molars before they become strongly rooted in the jawbone. Wisdom teeth can be removed at any age, but teenagers and young adults often have a faster recovery time. The longer you wait, the more issues can arise. These are just a few of the dangers of not removing impacted wisdom teeth:
- Decaying of partially erupted teeth
- Gum disease
- Damage to surrounding teeth due to crowding or infection
- Cysts can form when the sac around the wisdom tooth fills with fluid; this can cause damage to the jawbone, teeth, and nerves
- Ongoing pain
- Difficulty eating
- Sinus problems from pressure caused by impacted wisdom teeth in the upper jaw
Regular dental exams can identify potential problems early on, allowing you to address them before they become more serious.
What Is the Recovery from Wisdom Teeth Removal Like?
Dr. Price performs nearly all of his wisdom teeth removal surgeries using IV sedation. You’ll come in for your appointment, relax and fall asleep, and then wake up within about an hour, ready to head home.
In general, our Salt Lake County and Utah County patients experience most of their discomfort on the second or third day after surgery. One of the best reasons to have the procedure when you’re younger is that patients in their teens tend to heal faster.
Our practice will prescribe pain-relieving medication and be available to answer any questions you may have. Many patients find the recovery manageable enough to use ibuprofen alone without the prescription meds. After the third or fourth day, you can expect to feel much better and begin to return to normal activities.
Does Insurance Cover Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Your dental insurance will generally cover a large portion of your procedure. Your copay is dictated by your individual insurance plan. At the time of your consultation, we will help you understand your insurance benefits and provide the best possible estimate of your out of pocket costs.
Schedule an appointment for you or your teenager to discuss wisdom teeth removal. Salt Lake County and Utah County patients can contact us online or by phone at (801) 446-4428.