Wisdom teeth don't descend into the mouth cavity until the late teens or early twenties (usually between the ages of 17 and 25, known as the "age of wisdom" - hence the name). A wisdom tooth is located on each side of the upper and lower jaw. Unfortunately, many wisdom teeth can grow in crooked or misaligned, which often causes damage and misalignment to existing teeth.
A partial eruption means the wisdom tooth fails to descend completely into the mouth cavity. In such cases, partially erupted wisdom teeth provide easy access for bacteria and infection. For others, a wisdom teeth may grow in sideways or titled, causing pain, jaw stiffness, swelling, pain, and sometimes even fever and illness. Pulling wisdom teeth before they cause permanent damage to the jaw and other teeth is essential for good oral and dental health.
A surgical extraction of a wisdom tooth (or teeth) is common with most young adults. During this type of extraction, an oral surgeon will cut into the gum line to expose the tooth, from which point the extraction is performed much in the same way as a simple tooth extraction.
Prior to wisdom tooth extraction, the dental office will take a panoramic x-ray to give the dental surgeon a focused and clear view of how the wisdom teeth are situated and an indication of the difficulty of extraction.
A wisdom tooth that doesn't have enough space to descend is called an impacted wisdom tooth. Eruption may be hampered by neighboring teeth, bone, or gum. These wisdom teeth that have not yet erupted through the surface of the gum line may damage nearby tooth roots, cause severe pain and potential for infection.
The oral surgeon makes an incision over the location of the wisdom tooth in a gum flap procedure. The gum line is then lifted to expose the tooth. Using dental extraction instruments, the oral surgeon will grasp the tooth and loosen it from connective tissues within the tooth socket. The surgeon then removes the tooth with dental forceps. The incision will be closed with a couple of stitches, which either dissolve on their own or are removed by the dental surgeon.
A wisdom tooth that has partially or fully broken through the gum line is called an erupted wisdom tooth. In these cases, a small incision may offer additional access to the tooth by which the oral surgeon may utilize the dental forceps to loosen and extract the tooth.
In either situation, the area surrounding the wisdom tooth will be numbed through medication and very little if any pain is felt during the extraction process. Patients often feel a sensation of pressure or tugging during the actual extraction process. The area over the affected tooth is rubbed with a topical numbing agent, after which a needle with an analgesic numbing fluid such as a Novocain is injected into the area. Depending on the location of the wisdom tooth, one to three injections of numbing agent may be required.
Reduction of pain, swelling, misaligned teeth, and infection are the most obvious benefits of extracting impacted or erupted wisdom teeth that may be causing dental issues.
A wisdom tooth extraction in the United States can cost anywhere between $150 and $650 per tooth.. The average cost for wisdom tooth extraction is roughly $400 to $450. Cost will depend on the location of the tooth, surrounding nerves, and the difficulty of removal. Individuals with dental insurance may benefit from reimbursement of between 15 and 50% of total procedure costs.
However, the uninsured or travelers to countries such as Asia may spend an average of $90.00 per tooth, while visitors to Turkey may pay about $160, and visitors to Poland will pay approximately $180.
A wisdom tooth extraction should be performed by an oral or maxillofacial surgeon. When looking for a dentist, it is important to make sure they are certified by a dental association or organization in their country. Countries typically require dental college membership or certification.
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