Although simple extractions of teeth can usually be performed by a dentist, most dentists will refer a patient to an oral surgeon for removal of impacted, damaged, or severely decayed teeth, as well as wisdom teeth. Also, if a patient feels more comfortable receiving general anesthesia or sedation during the surgery, they are more likely to be referred to an oral surgeon.
Wisdom teeth usually begin to break through the gum’s surface somewhere between seventeen and twenty-four years of age. Some people never develop wisdom teeth, and some people develop as many as four, one in the very back of each side of the mouth, on both the top and bottom. Wisdom teeth often cause no problem but are described as impacted if there is not enough room for them in the back of the mouth. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause swelling, pain and infection, and can cause damage to the teeth around them. If the gum surrounding the wisdom tooth is swollen, the jaw can become stiff and sore. The surgical removal, or extraction, of one or more of the impacted wisdom teeth can relieve these problems, though it will usually not improve crookedness or crowding of other teeth.
Many people have their wisdom tooth removed under local anesthesia, which means they are awake but the area around the tooth is completely numb. A light sedative can also be added to the anesthetic to help the patient relax. Other patients have the extraction done under general anesthesia, which means they are completely asleep during the procedure. The procedure almost always involves making a small incision in the gum over the wisdom tooth and removing some bone to remove the wisdom tooth. Stitches are normally put in to help the gum heal. This is one area in dental care where the savings with Ameriplan® discount dental really add up! Ameriplan® offers discounts on oral surgery. See our fee schedule on the home page to see what you would save in your area with Ameriplan®.