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Tooth Extraction


Tooth Extraction

There are many reasons why tooth removal may be necessary.  For example, the tooth may need to be removed as part of your orthodontic treatment in order to allow space for your remaining teeth to move; your tooth may have been injured beyond repair; the tooth may be decayed; or the tooth may be loose as a result of periodontal disease.

Whatever the reason, Dr. Walther will discuss your treatment options and what to expect in detail prior to undergoing your procedure.

Recovery is generally rapid with all but the most difficult extractions.  It is best to plan a restful day after your procedure.  Return to normal activity can begin the next day, but chewing in the area will require several additional days of recovery.  A good rule of thumb is to "let comfort be your guide."

Wisdom Teeth Management

Wisdom Teeth Management

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last teeth to develop and appear in the mouth, generally between ages 17 to 25. 

What is an impacted tooth?

When a tooth is unable to fully enter the mouth, it is said to be "impacted."  In general, impacted teeth are unable to break through the gums because there is not enough room in the mouth.  Nine out of ten people have a least one impacted wisdom tooth.



How serious is an impacted wisdom tooth?

An impacted wisdom tooth can damage neighboring teeth or become infected.  Impacted wisdom teeth are hard to clean, creating an environment for bacteria that cause gum disease.  In some instances, the bacteria can travel to other places in your body.  Research has shown that gum disease can improve following extraction of impacted wisdom teeth.

In some cases a fluid-filled cyst or tumor will grow from the developmental sac around a wisdom tooth.  As the cyst or tumor grows, it may lead to more serious problems as it hollows out the jaw and damages surrounding nerves, teeth, and other structures. 


Wisdom teeth grow as you age

Wisdom teeth begin growing in your early teens.  During the early stages of growth, the roots are not completely formed.  Wisdom teeth that are impacted are easier and safer to remove before tooth growth is complete.  The surrounding bone is softer, and there is less chance of damage to nearby nerves or other structures.  Removal of wisdom teeth at a later age becomes more complicated as the roots have fully developed and may be closer to the nerve in the jaw.


What if my wisdom teeth haven't yet caused problems?

Many people believe that as long as they are not in pain, they do not have to worry about their wisdom teeth.  Unfortunately, pain-free does not mean disease- or problem-free.  Your wisdom teeth should be evaluated by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon as a young adult.

We recommend removal of wisdom teeth in the following instances:

  • Infections and/or periodontal disease

  • Cavities that cannot be filled

  • Pathology such as a cyst or tumor

  • Damage to neighboring teeth

Wisdom teeth that are completely erupted and functional, painless, cavity-free, in an environment with healthy gum tissue, and are disease-free should not be extracted.  They should be evaluated and undergo professional cleanings, annual check-ups, and periodic x-rays to monitor for changes.


What happens during surgery?

Before surgery, Dr. Walther will discuss the procedure with you and tell you what to expect.  Each patient is different, and all questions and concerns will be discussed.  Most of the time, the wisdom teeth can be removed in our office.  Local anesthesia alone, or in combination with intravenous sedation, is used to make the experience as comfortable as possible.  Dr. Walther will discuss the anesthetic option that is right for you.


After surgery care

Some mild swelling and discomfort is expected.  This is part of the normal healing process.  Cold compresses may help decrease the swelling.  Medication prescribed will help manage the discomfort.  Soft foods are recommended after surgery, progressing to more normal foods in the following days.