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Wisdom Tooth Woes: Your Guide to Successful Wisdom Teeth Removal in Staten Island

More than half the Staten Island population has at least one wisdom tooth, but most of those people will need to undergo wisdom teeth removal at some point.

With age comes wisdom – and wisdom teeth! Well, for some of us, at least. 

While the exact number is unknown, research indicates that nearly half of the Staten Island population has at least one wisdom tooth, but almost never more than four – and some people aren’t born with any!

And, while we’ve all seen the videos on social media, not everyone who decides to get their wisdom teeth removed will end up going viral on TikTok – though the anesthesia will have you feeling a little loopy.

So, what are wisdom teeth? 

Wisdom teeth are your third molars – but let’s backtrack for a second. 

What are molars? 

Molars, located in the back of the mouth, are one of four primary categories of teeth – the other three being incisors, canines, and premolars. They are generally flat and used for crushing and grinding food – as opposed to the front teeth, which are generally sharp and used for cutting and slicing food. 

Most adults have at least eight molars – a first and second molar in each quadrant (top right, bottom right, top left, bottom left) – but then there are those who grow a third set of molars, known as wisdom teeth. 

Wait, why do they call them wisdom teeth?

They’re called wisdom teeth because, as I said above, with age comes wisdom – and your third molars are the last teeth to grow in (if at all). It usually happens between the ages of 17 and 26 – well after the second molars come in (11-13 years old) – but what happens next is up for debate. So let’s debate!

To Pull or Not to Pull: Let’s Make That Decision Together!

Not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth pulled, but most people can benefit from it – if not in the short term, then in the long term. The truth is, if you’re lucky enough to have your wisdom teeth grow in straight and perfect, then they won’t be much of a problem. Unfortunately, not everyone is that lucky. 

For those who fall into that category – like me! – removing your wisdom teeth can help you avoid the pain, discomfort, and mayhem that would come if you don’t. Here’s a look at some of those complications: 

Infection. Also known as pericoronitis, the tissue around your wisdom teeth could get infected if the wisdom teeth don’t have enough room to break through completely (usually on the lower teeth). 

Cyst. Also known as a dentigerous cyst, a fluid-filled sac forms inside the jaw bone surrounding the impacted tooth. Over time, the cyst expands and results in bone loss and, eventually, tooth loss. 

Crowding. Research shows that our jaws have evolved over time and are much smaller today, compared to our ancestors. As a result, some people simply don’t have enough room in their mouth for third molars.

Damage. If your wisdom teeth aren’t growing straight, they’ll eventually come in contact with the second molars. When this happens, the continuous pressure could result in a chipped tooth or tooth decay. 

Pain. No one likes a toothache, but it’s almost guaranteed if your third molars aren’t growing properly. This type of pain can range from tolerable (but annoying) to extremely irritating – and/or unbearable. 

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, we recommend scheduling an appointment with Staten Island’s favorite dentist – Dr. Joseph Cipriano – right away. He’ll help you determine the next steps! 

Wisdom Tooth Removal: Your Ticket to a Healthier Smile

Alright, so your dentist says it’s time to remove your wisdom tooth/teeth – don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, more than 10 million wisdom teeth are removed in the United States every single year – that’s more than 27,000 per day or 1,000+ per hour. At this point, wisdom teeth removal is second nature to us!

To ensure you understand the process and what to expect during the extraction, let’s take a step-by-step look at what you’re signing up for: 

  1. Anesthesia - we’ll either give you local, sedation, or general anesthesia to help numb your mouth, relax your muscles, and (if needed) put you to sleep. Either way, you won’t feel any pain.
  2. Incisions - before your dentist can take the tooth out, they need to make an incision into the gum tissue. This exposes the bone and tooth, giving them a clear view of what they’re working with. 
  3. Extraction - if there’s bone blocking access to the tooth, your dentist will remove it before either loosening the tooth and lifting it out from the socket or breaking it up into smaller sections. 
  4. Clean Up - once the tooth has been removed, your dentist will clean and disinfect the extraction site, stitch it up to promote the healing process, and use gauze pads to help stop the bleeding. 

Most patients can expect to spend roughly 90 minutes in the dentist’s office, but only about half of that will be spent on the actual procedure. The downtime will depend on the type of anesthesia used, but patients definitely need someone to drive them home and will need to take a few days (at least) off of work/school.

Outsmart Your Wisdom Teeth at Healthy Smiles!

Are you experiencing a nasty toothache where your wisdom teeth are coming in? Can you feel your third molar pushing up against your second molar? Do you have a cyst or infection in the back of your teeth? 

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of those questions, then you’re going to like what we have in store for you!

At Healthy Smiles, our experienced and friendly team – led by Dr. Joseph Cipriano – will work with you to determine the best course of action for your individual needs. Don't let your wisdom teeth cause you any more pain or discomfort -- give us a call now at (718) 948-1600 or click here to schedule an appointment.