Wisdom Teeth Removal

Dr. Adamous or Dr. Sonnichsen will use x-rays and an oral examination to assess the position of your wisdom teeth and whether you have any current or potential problems. Studies show that the earlier in life that wisdom teeth are addressed, the better the outcome: less risk of complications, faster healing, and prevention of future health risks. To ensure the best results, most patients are advised to get evaluated in their mid-teens by an orthodontist, dentist, or oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

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Why should wisdom teeth be removed?

A number of problems can result if your wisdom teeth become impacted. If your mouth lacks adequate space for wisdom teeth to erupt, complications range from infection and cysts to damage to adjacent teeth. As your wisdom teeth and jawbone grow, they become more fully fused together, and the root structures become more complex and extensive, making it vital to remove wisdom teeth as early as possible. This may be as early as 12 or 13, though some patients need to wait until their early twenties. Your optimal age at treatment time depends on several factors including the position of the teeth, the shape of the jawbone, and more.

After age thirty, problems related to wisdom teeth generally increase, and can include:

A representation of a pericoronitis infection on a wisdom tooth


The most frequent issue related to wisdom teeth is pericoronitis, a localized gum infection. When wisdom teeth do not have room to completely erupt, the surrounding gum tissue can become infected, leading to chronic pain, swelling, and issues chewing or swallowing.

An example of a cyst formation on a wisdom tooth

Cyst Formation:

A cyst is a fluid-filled cavity inside the jaw bone that forms around an impacted tooth, slowly expanding to destroy portions of the jaw bone and neighboring teeth. Cysts are difficult to treat and can, in rare cases, lead to tumors.

An illustration of teeth crowding causes by a wisdom tooth


As wisdom teeth erupt in the back of the mouth, they push the rest of the teeth forward, gradually moving them out of alignment. Crowding is particularly visible in the lower front teeth, and commonly manifests after braces have been removed or in early adulthood. However, other factors contribute to crowding besides wisdom teeth. The primary purpose of wisdom teeth removal is the prevention of later damage to your gums, jaw bone, and teeth, unless you have an active problem with crowding at the time of the operation.

A visual of a wisdom tooth damaging an adjacent tooth

Damage to Adjacent Teeth:

Impacted wisdom teeth can enter at angles that make it difficult or impossible to clean neighboring teeth, putting those teeth at higher risk of gum disease and decay, and possibly leading to bone loss around the tooth.

Why should my wisdom teeth be removed early?

If wisdom teeth remain in the jaw, their roots lengthen and the jaw bone becomes more dense to support them, both factors that make extraction more difficult. Beyond your thirties, treatment length grows longer, and the chances of complications rise. Complications are more difficult to address since older patients have an increased healing time and treatments are less predictable. Often, there is a higher risk of infection.

Sometimes, if your wisdom teeth are completely impacted in bone, extraction may be difficult and we may recommend that you wait until it becomes necessary, such as when a cyst, gum disease, or bone loss starts to develop. Overall, though, patients in their teens and early twenties have fewer complications, and heal faster and more predictably.

What happens during wisdom tooth removal?

Most patients choose anesthesia to make the procedure as comfortable and painless as possible. Our staff will walk you through anesthesia options at your consultation. We are trained, licensed, and experienced in all forms of anesthesia, and provide this essential service in a safe environment with the latest monitoring equipment. To ensure that our anesthesia procedures are effective and up-to-date, our office facilities, surgical care team, and doctors are regularly inspected and certified by the Board of Dental Examiners.

Before your surgery, you must avoid eating and drinking for at least six hours, and preferably longer. (This excludes prescription medications taken with a sip of water.) Do not try to squeeze in a heavy meal just before the six-hour limit. If you have anything in your stomach, you will be at an increased risk of serious anesthetic complications, such as nausea and vomiting, and we will reschedule your procedure if you have not followed these instructions. During your consultation, we may prescribe pain medication that you can fill in advance. You will take medications on the day of your procedure to minimize post-operative swelling and pain.

Since the effects of anesthesia are pronounced, you will need a parent or responsible adult to escort you to the office and be responsible for your care for the remainder of the day. We will seat you in the surgical room and ensure that you are as comfortable as possible. Anesthesia is administered through an IV in your left arm, which is fast and nearly painless. Most patients do not even remember falling asleep. You will be in the office for around 90 minutes: 30 to 60 minutes for the procedure, with time allotted to enable anesthesia to wear off so you are awake enough to travel. With the most recent advances in technology and medicine, wisdom tooth removal is a rapid, safe procedure that promotes quick healing and minimal discomfort. At all times, we use the latest in sterilization and infection control techniques.

After the procedure, we administer local anesthesia for additional comfort. We highly recommend that you return home and rest, since you will be sleepy for much of the day. Some surgeries require stitches, though usually, the type used does not require removal and dissolves in three to five days. Your gums may feel as if they are swelling and pulling away from your teeth. This is a normal part of the recovery process that subsides over several days.

smiling teenage son with his mother

The Day of Treatment

Be sure to have an adult with you at the time of removal. Make plans to have a parent or responsible adult stay with you for the rest of the day, following wisdom tooth removal.

The local anesthesia may take a day to wear off, and should not be mistaken for a nerve injury. You may need additional pain medication when the local anesthesia wears off. Before using prescription pain medication, we recommend that you first try non-narcotic, anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen (Advil) to see if that addresses your pain. Your stomach will need time to settle, so carefully manage your post-operative diet. Start with clear liquids like broth and jello, gradually moving on to more substantive foods. We recommend avoiding dairy products like milkshakes, ice cream, and yogurt the day of your procedure, since they may react with the anesthesia and pain medication to produce nausea and vomiting. If you are taking antibiotics and birth control pills, know that birth control pills may be ineffective for several days.

Does insurance cover the cost of wisdom teeth removal?

The cost of wisdom teeth removal varies depending on several factors, including which type of anesthesia you use and the difficulty of removing your teeth. To provide an accurate estimate, your surgeon will need information from your consultation, including your oral examination and x-rays, to determine which anesthesia option is best for you. Different insurance companies provide different amounts of coverage for any given surgical procedure. Our staff is well-trained and experienced at guiding patients toward the maximum possible insurance coverage for wisdom teeth removal.

How do I contact your office for questions?

Call Bellflower Oral Facial Surgery & Dental Implant Center at Bellflower Office Phone NumberBellflower Oral Facial Surgery & Dental Implant Center Phone Number 562-222-3607 to speak with one of our patient care coordinators. We will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have. Schedule a full consultation so we can assess your wisdom teeth and discuss your specific options for treatment.

A smiling woman

The Day of Treatment

Please do not eat or drink anything prior to your surgery. Having anything in your stomach can increase the risk for serious anesthetic complications.