Wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to develop. They are also known as third molars, and they grow at the back of the mouth behind the second molars. Most people develop these teeth around the ages of 17–25, although you could develop them much later. The average mouth does not have room to house an additional set of molars, which is why dentists and oral surgeons recommend having wisdom teeth taken out. In doing so, you prevent a host of oral health complications from having the chance to arise.
At Oral Surgery Services, Dr. Demarcus Smith and Dr. Michael Ferguson are board-certified oral surgery experts who specialize in wisdom tooth extractions. If you or your child have wisdom teeth or would like an oral examination, please contact our office to learn about wisdom teeth removal in Metairie and Gretna, LA.
Wisdom teeth removal surgery should be performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon because of their advanced training and experience with complex surgical procedures. Whereas a general dentist can begin practicing right after dental school, an oral surgeon must undergo several additional years of training. During this time, known as a residency, the surgeon performs a variety of surgical procedures in a hospital setting, including third molar extractions, and learns to administer anesthesia. Dr. Smith and Dr. Ferguson are qualified experts and specialize in removing wisdom teeth.
Learn more about wisdom teeth removal by watching the stories below. Our patients can help you understand the treatment experience at our practice.
Because there is not enough room for these large molars, they try to make room for themselves in the dental arch. When a wisdom tooth partially erupts through the gums, it becomes a magnet for food and bacteria. If left untreated, wisdom teeth can cause these issues and more:
A wisdom tooth can sometimes fully erupt through the gum line into the dental arch if there is enough room. When this occurs, it may mean that the tooth does not need to be removed, but this is rare. Most wisdom teeth will partially erupt through the gums or remain trapped beneath the gums entirely. This is known as impaction.
An impacted wisdom tooth does not have the necessary room to erupt and will not naturally emerge on its own. Impacted wisdom teeth must be surgically removed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
Dr. Smith and Dr. Ferguson can extract a wisdom tooth that is fully or partially erupted. Removing a partially erupted wisdom tooth may require an incision or sutures afterward, but is a common type of wisdom tooth extraction that oral surgeons perform. Regardless of the stage of impaction or eruption, dental professionals recommend having the third molars extracted as soon as possible.
At a consultation visit, Dr. Smith or Dr. Ferguson will complete an oral examination and we will take 3D scans of your mouth. Oral Surgery Services offers several types of anesthesia so you can relax and not feel any pain, including local and general anesthesia, IV sedation, and nitrous oxide. IV sedation is most commonly used for wisdom tooth removal.
On the day of surgery, we will administer the selected anesthetic. Once you are comfortable, your oral surgeon will remove any erupted wisdom teeth using forceps. Impacted teeth will need to be surgically removed. To do this, your surgeon will make an incision in the gum tissue to access the tooth, then remove it. Sutures will be placed as needed on the extraction sites and you will rest until the anesthesia wears off.
If undergoing IV sedation, an adult must remain in the office during your surgery and drive you home afterward. This individual should stay with you for 24 hours to provide assistance while you’re under the effects of anesthesia.
You should take the day of surgery off from work or school. Most patients return to their routines within a few days following surgery, depending on the complexity of the procedure and instructions from your surgeon.
The number of wisdom teeth, your insurance, your choice of anesthesia, and the complexity of the procedure factor into the cost of having wisdom teeth removed. During the consultation, we discuss these factors and will provide a cost estimate.
Your food intake will be limited for a few days, and a high-protein, high-calorie liquid diet is recommended. Ramp up your diet as tolerated, and be sure to follow the post-operative instructions provided to you. You should not use a straw or smoke for 1 week, as the sucking motion could dislodge the blood clot, resulting in a painful condition known as dry socket.
It is normal to experience pain, swelling, or pressure in the back of the mouth when wisdom teeth develop. However, not everyone experiences pain. Even with little to no pain, wisdom teeth can still cause health problems and should be extracted promptly.
Oral Surgery Services has two offices in Metairie and Gretna, LA, where our board-certified oral surgeons perform wisdom teeth removal. Our offices are about a 20 minute drive from New Orleans and are conveniently located for patients living in New Orleans or any surrounding areas. If you or your child need third molars extracted or evaluated, contact Oral Surgery Services today.