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Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom teeth are the final teeth to emerge into the mouth, usually between 15 and 20 years of age. When the teeth develop with proper alignment and with adequate space to remain healthy, they do not need to be removed. However, for many people, the teeth develop with poor alignment or insufficient space to grow into a position where they can be properly cleaned and maintained. In these cases, the wisdom teeth are at risk for causing problems.


Why should I have my wisdom teeth removed?

The presence of wisdom teeth can cause the following oral health problems:

  • Swelling, jaw stiffness, tenderness, and pain

  • Bacterial growth, gum disease, and tooth decay

  • Misalignment and/or crowding of healthy teeth

  • Increased risk of tumor and cyst growth around wisdom teeth


Dr. James recommends that third molars be evaluated for adequate space early, usually during the mid to late teenage years. During this developmental stage, the teeth roots are not completely developed and take up less space within the jaw. Even if the teeth haven’t begun to emerge from the gums, when recommended, early removal of these molars can decrease the risks of complications during removal of the teeth, which allows for an easier recovery.

Before moving forward with wisdom teeth removal,  you will receive a thorough oral examination, X-rays, and in some cases 3D scanning of the mouth. If removal is the right decision for you, Dr. James will give you an idea of what to expect for the day of your procedure, as well as how to make the recovery process as smooth as possible. They are ready and willing to address any questions or concerns you may have about your procedure.


When planning for removal, you may have several anesthetic options available to ensure you are comfortable during the procedure. These options include

  1. Intravenous (IV) Sedation. Medications are given through an IV to safely allow patients to be more relaxed than local anesthesia and nitrous oxide alone. Most patients having wisdom teeth removed prefer to be asleep during their procedure. Oral surgeons are uniquely qualified to provide this level of sedation due to the comprehensive hospital-based anesthesia training they received during residency.

  2. Nitrous Oxide. Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is used in combination with local anesthesia. Nitrous oxide can help relieve tension or anxiety commonly associated with dental work and oral surgery procedures. Nitrous oxide also acts to help numb the lips, gums, and teeth during these procedures.

  3. Local Anesthesia. Medication is placed at or near the area of surgery to numb the teeth, gums, and bone. Local anesthesia is the most common choice for routine dental procedures.


We will do everything in our power to ensure that you are comfortable and experience a rapid recovery following your surgical treatment. Please do not hesitate to ask our skilled surgeon and highly trained office staff any questions you may have before your procedure. At About Face:  Oral & Facial Surgery, we want to ensure you are fully informed and help you choose the method of anesthesia that is best for you.

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