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Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Wisdom teeth are the last to come in/erupt from among all the permanent (adult) teeth. There are four wisdom teeth, one at the very back of every side for both top and bottom. Some people may not have any wisdom teeth at all or just 1, 2, or 3 – this is not unusual. When wisdom teeth begin to come in, they may come in completely like any other teeth or may never erupt above the gum line. Often times when wisdom teeth begin to come in, they do not have enough space so they begin to push on other permanent teeth causing pain and swelling. The pushing of wisdom teeth can cause a shift, which can change a person’s bite and teeth alignment causing teeth crowding. Wisdom teeth are one of the most common reasons for tooth extraction.

Numerous problems can happen when wisdom teeth are ignored and left untreated when they pose oral health concerns.

What is an impacted wisdom tooth?

There are two different types of impacted wisdom teeth. A partially impacted wisdom tooth is when the wisdom tooth is erupted partially from the jaw bone. Partially impacted wisdom tooth generally sit in the bone at an angle and erupt partially due to crowding or because they erupt at an angle. The second type of impacted wisdom tooth is fully impacted. wisdom tooth. A fully impacted wisdom tooth is completely buried in the jaw bone. A fully impacted wisdom tooth is generally lying completely on its side and the head of the tooth (crown) is facing the root of the back molar tooth.

Both types of impacted wisdom tooth typically require an oral surgeon. An oral surgeon is a dentist who specializes in wisdom teeth extractions. If Dr. Steve Kim determines an oral surgeon is needed for any type of extraction, we will provide a referral; however, the patient can choose one of their own preference.

When should wisdom teeth be removed?

wise2Once wisdom teeth begin to erupt it is common to start feeling pain, though this is not always the case; therefore, it is important to have routine checkups so Dr. Steve Kim can see if the wisdom molars are causing any shifts or if they might be coming in from a different angle. One of the most common misconception people believe is that all four molars will erupt at the same time. This is not the case. While all existing wisdom teeth can erupt at the same time, they may also do so at different times. Also, all existing wisdom teeth can be impacted or not or a mix of both. There is no uniform standard for the types and number of wisdom teeth patients have.

There are three reasons why wisdom teeth should be removed.

1) Pain!

There is no reason for wisdom teeth to be left alone if there is any discomfort or pain

2) Orthodontics

Patients undergoing treatment to align their teeth may be told by their orthodontist to have their wisdom teeth removed. There are multiple reasons why an orthodontist would ask the patient to have their wisdom teeth removed, including but not limited to crowding and possible shifting in the future.

3) Poor oral hygiene care

Wisdom teeth that are complete or partially erupted are prone to infection and decay due to the location of these teeth. Wisdom teeth are located in the far back of the mouth and are hard to reach for brushing and flossing. Bacteria is harder to clean in the rear mouth area it can easily lead to an infection and decay. It is best to remove these wisdom teeth to avoid infection or decay of other surrounding tissues, bones, and other teeth.

Approximate Wisdom Teeth Eruption

The common age for wisdom teeth to come in/ erupt is between 17-25 years of age. Usually permanent teeth have all settled into their permanent place before wisdom teeth begin to erupt creating pressure of pain in the jaw. When a patients feels pain it is a sign that the wisdom teeth needs to be removed.

At times some patients will prefer having their wisdom teeth removed before eruption as a precaution and to avoid potential pain in the future. In this case, the patient will be examined by Dr. Steve Kim and the appropriate treatment plan will be discussed. On average, young adults are recommended to have the wisdom teeth extracted because the roots are easier to dislodge and younger patients tend to have a quicker, easier healing process.

wise3Extracting wisdom teeth:

After an exam, Dr. Steve Kim will let patient know if extraction (s) is necessary. If Dr. Steve Kim determines that the extraction is relatively simple, he will proceed with the extraction. If Dr. Steve Kim determines that seeing an oral surgeon is the best treatment method, a referral will be provided.

When Dr. Steve Kim proceeds with the extraction, he will numb the area with a topical anesthetic then give the treating patient a local anesthetic injection to numb the area where the tooth will be extracted.

After an extraction, sutures may or may not be placed. If sutures were required, a follow-up exam two weeks later for suture removal is advised.

After Extraction Care

Right after the extraction procedure a cold pack will be provided. The cold pack helps prevent any discomfort and following day swelling. The longer a cold pack is used, the less chance of swelling. If Dr. Steve Kim determines pain medication is needed, he will prescribe some. Otherwise, any over-the-counter pain medication can be taken. Antibiotics will also be prescribed. It is essential and vital that all antibiotics that are prescribed be completely finished. This prevents infection and antibiotic resistance.

We will provide an ‘After-Care Instruction’ pamphlet. If you want to print one out at home for your convenience or if you lost your copy, go to the ‘OTHER’ section.


It is important for a patient to understand that not all wisdom teeth erupt the same way and so every individual will have a different experience. Asking friends or family for their experience is not the best idea, because their experience may not be the resultant case for another individual. r individual.

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