Wisdom Teeth

Video Transcription

Wisdom teeth are also called third molars. They are the very last teeth to develop in the mouth, and they are the teeth that are the furthest back in the jaws. They typically come in if they do grow in at all, they typically will grow in the late teens to early 20s. The reason that people need wisdom teeth extracted, they often cause pain. They often create gum disease along the adjacent tooth, and they commonly cause gum infections. Another common reason is that some people will get them removed preventively because they do tend to be problematic. And so preventive wisdom tooth removal is very, very common as well. So the consultation process for wisdom teeth includes an examination with X-rays. We want to get a good idea for the current state of the wisdom teeth. We will also have a personalized examination by myself and a review of the findings of the X-ray and of the oral exam. And then we will just talk about wisdom tooth removal, and we'll discuss whether or not we would recommend that for you in your case. We'll talk about what the surgery is like and what to expect from the recovery. We'll also talk about what the expected or potential. I should say the potential complications of the surgery could be. The best way to find out if you're a candidate to get wisdom teeth out as via consultation. Certainly, that process will typically start with a referral from a general dentist or an orthodontist, or another source that identifies that you have wisdom teeth and that it may be a good idea to consider having them removed. But patients oftentimes come in self-referred to our office. And just say, "Hey, I have wisdom teeth and they bother me" or "I have wisdom teeth, and I think it's time for me to get them treated." And then we make a personalized recommendation based on the findings of the consultation.

By the age of 18, the average adult has 32 teeth; 16 teeth on the top and 16 teeth on the bottom. Each tooth in the mouth has a specific name and function. 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. The extraction of wisdom teeth is recommended when they are prevented from properly erupting within the mouth. They may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum, and even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. Impacted teeth can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to successfully erupt.

These poorly positioned impacted teeth can cause many problems. When they are partially erupted, the opening around the teeth allows bacteria to grow and will eventually cause an infection. The result: swelling, stiffness, pain, and illness. Chronic infection can also lead to cavities and bone loss.  The pressure from the erupting wisdom teeth may move other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth. The most serious problem occurs when tumors or cysts form around the impacted wisdom teeth, resulting in the destruction of the jawbone and healthy teeth. Removal of the offending impacted teeth usually resolves these problems. Early removal is recommended to avoid such future problems and to decrease the surgical risk involved with the procedure.

Oral Examination

With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, Dr. Rudd can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there are present or may be future problems. 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.

All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize patient comfort. Dr. Rudd has the training, license and experience to provide various types of anesthesia for patients to select the best alternative.


In most cases, the removal of wisdom teeth is performed under and IV sedation.  Other options may include local 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. Once 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, a prescription for pain medication, antibiotics, and a follow-up appointment in one week for suture removal. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at Albuquerque Office Phone Number 505-292-3400.

Our services are provided in an environment of optimum safety that utilizes modern monitoring equipment and staff who are experienced in anesthesia techniques.