3rd Molars & Oral Surgery

3rd Molars and Wisdom Teeth

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are uniquely qualified to remove molars.  They are the only dental specialists with years of accredited training in the removal wisdom teeth.

Many of us have undergone removal of impacted 3rd molars or wisdom teeth; but what are the facts related to impacted 3rd molars or wisdom teeth?

 Individuals may be congenitally missing one or more of their 3rd molars or may even have an extra pair.  Studies have shown that the majority of people with impacted wisdom teeth will develop problems if they are left in place.  The most common problems are periodontal disease or decay.  As much as 45% of impacted 3rd molars if left in place, will damage the adjacent 2nd molar.  We also see development of cysts and tumors that are associated with impacted 3rd molars.  There are sensory nerves that are in close proximity to the lower 3rd molars that give the feeling to the lower lip, chin and tongue, along with feeling to the tongue.  Delays in removal of the wisdom teeth allows the roots of these teeth to grow around these nerves, greatly increasing the risk of permanent damage.  Because of these potential complications, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons recommend the elective removal of most impacted wisdom teeth.

The age of the individual at the time of 3rd molar removal can greatly impact their surgical course.  Waiting until a person is older can lead to additional complications.  The incident of dry sockets (delayed healing that can cause prolonged pain), incomplete bone regeneration, nerve damage and even fracture of the mandible are increased with increasing age.  We recommend removal of impacted wisdom teeth in individuals when the roots begin to develop close to key sensory nerves.  In females we recommend removal before the age of 18 years.  Males can wait a few years longer without increasing risks.

Patients usually find it is much more comfortable to have the removal of their wisdom teeth performed with the assistance of Intravenous (IV) sedation.  This way the local anesthetic is given and procedure completed while the patient is asleep.  For most individuals, they feel as if they blinked their eyes and the procedure was over.

The recovery following the removal of 3rd molars usually lasts three days.  The first two days the patient can expect some discomfort which should be adequately controlled with pain medication.  They will be instructed to relax with ice applied to their face.  By the third day, the patient will usually begin to feel better, but notice that the swelling has reached its peak on this day.  If healing is progressing well, most patients can return to normal activities on the fourth day following the removal of their wisdom teeth.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are uniquely qualified to remove molars.  They are the only dental specialists with years of accredited training in the removal of wisdom teeth.  This allows them to provide a safe and comfortable environment for your procedure while minimizing risks such as dry sockets or nerve injury.  If you have any questions we would be more than happy to schedule you for a consultation to assess your impacted wisdom teeth and recommend the appropriate treatment.


Delayed 3rd molar extraction leading to decay and damage to 2nd molars

Ideal time for evaluation and possible extraction
Root formation lower 3rd molars incomplete and above the nerve (arrow) seen in the lower jaw

Call the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Specialists, P.C., to find out what options are available for your particular needs: