Your wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the very last teeth to develop, usually in late adolescence or your early 20s. At the Southern California Center for Oral & Facial Surgery, Dr. Jay Reznick addresses impacted or partially erupted wisdom teeth. As an expert oral and maxillofacial surgeon, he can remove them before they cause serious problems. If you live in Tarzana, California or the surrounding area, call the office or use the online booking tool to have your wisdom teeth evaluated.
When you don’t have enough room in your jaw for the wisdom teeth to erupt, they get trapped in the jawbone and gums. That happens because the face and jaws of modern humans are smaller than those of early humans who needed larger jaws and more teeth for their tougher diet, and evolution hasn’t quite caught up.
Impacted wisdom teeth, or wisdom teeth that only partially erupt, can cause numerous oral health issues. These include:
You’re best off having wisdom teeth removed before they start to cause problems. Dr. Reznick can see via X-rays if your wisdom teeth are likely to cause issues.
Having them removed early means they haven’t fully developed and aren’t anchored tightly to the bone, so the surgery is easier on you. Young bones are also relatively elastic, making healing go more smoothly in most patients.
The exact procedure depends on the extent of your wisdom teeth’s impaction. Dr. Reznick puts you under sedation, which may be local, IV sedation, or -- in special circumstances -- general anesthesia.
Expect him to make an incision in your gum, which creates flaps to expose the tooth and bone. He then removes the tooth, also moving any bone that blocks access to the tooth. He cleans the site thoroughly and, when necessary, stitches the incision. To encourage blood clotting, he then places gauze on the wound.
Dr. Reznick and his staff provide thorough instructions for immediate post-surgical care. You may have some swelling, minor bleeding, and bruising in the first few days following the procedure. Dr. Reznick offers prescription pain medication to control the initial discomfort.
Limit strenuous activity for at least a week as your mouth heals. Drinking with a straw the first seven to 14 days post-surgery should be avoided as the sucking action can dislodge blood clots from the surgical site.
Follow a soft food diet for at least 24 hours, then transition to semi-soft foods when you feel able, but avoid hot, chewy, and hard foods for several weeks.