Wisdom Teeth

Extraction of wisdom teeth should be comfortable and painless. We are happy to provide IV anesthesia for maximum comfort!!

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 necessary 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. 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.

Wisdom Teeth Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of wisdom teeth, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to wisdom teeth are discussed.

Wisdom Teeth Presentation

Oral Examination

With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, Drs. Beatty and Cottam 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, their orthodontist, or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

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

Removal

Most patients prefer to have wisdom teeth extracted under IV anesthesia to provide maximum comfort. Removal of wisdom teeth is performed under local anesthesia, laughing gas (nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia) or general 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 call us at Burien Office Phone Number 206-248-3035.

Wisdom Tooth Removal Overview

For a brief narrated overview of the wisdom tooth removal process, please click the image below. It will launch our flash educational MiniModule in a separate window that may answer some of your questions about wisdom teeth.

Wisdom Tooth Removal Overview

Having trouble? Please make sure you have the Adobe Flash Player plugin installed in order to correctly view this presentation. This software is available as a free download.

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

Summit Implants & Oral Surgery

5 out of 5 stars based on 4 Wisdom Teeth reviews.

Patient Review

I am an extremely nervous dental patient, enough so that I put off getting my wisdom teeth out for a long time. I also have a fear of anesthesia so I decided to have them out one at a time, under local anesthesia and my dentist started the process. My final tooth was fully impacted so I was referred to Dr. Cottam and I am so happy I was! He was absolutely incredible from my consult to my procedure, very reassuring and completely willing to do whatever would make me comfortable. The procedure ended up going better than I could have ever hoped for. He was very calm and friendly and let me go at my own pace. His assistant was awesome too! He called that evening to check on me, and I was even given his personal cell phone number to call or text with any questions over the weekend. I would recommend Dr. Cottam to everyone I know!

- Katie D

5 out of 5 stars on

Patient Review

definitely will be back for any other dental work!

- Monica N

5 out of 5 stars on

Patient Review

My son was very nervous, they made him feel at ease. Seemed like as soon as we got to the waiting room they were coming to get us saying he was done. He had no complications at all! Highly recommended!

- Nicole H

5 out of 5 stars on

Patient Review

I really liked everything about my visit. They were all very informed and kept me comfortable the whole time.

- Janell G

5 out of 5 stars on