Tooth Extractions & Wisdom Teeth Removal
Dr. Travis Howey has the experience and credentials you should look for when considering a dentist for your tooth extractions and wisdom tooth removals.
Dedicated to life-long learning, Dr. Howey has averaged 50 continuing education credit hours (per licensing period) throughout his career; the minimum requirements for the state of Washington are 20 continuing education credit hours per licensing period!
“I’m so happy with my visit here! I had a complication after a dental procedure from another office and asked if I could (last minute) come in to Klahanie Family Dentistry to have my extraction site looked at because of pain. They fit me in the same day and told me exactly how much the procedure would likely cost over the phone so I was prepared. They were kind and quick and followed up with me the next day to make sure everything was going okay. I really appreciate the detailed way they go about their work and I would definitely recommend their practice.”
Dr. Travis Howey, DDS, with a high-tech dental office located in Issaquah, is always educated and informed on the latest and greatest dental technologies and trends.
Why do we remove wisdom teeth?
Most people simply won’t have room for them in their mouth, so we usually advise removing them before the teeth are fully developed, usually around age 18. If the teeth are not removed, they usually will not come in all the way, and a pocket of gum tissue forms around them like in this case. Over time this pocket will become infected resulting in a painful condition called pericoronitis, which can cause the patient to end up in the hospital. The only way to truly solve the problem is to remove the tooth.
Wisdom Teeth Extractions
Video 01:51 | With age comes wisdom – and wisdom teeth! Learn more about what to expect when this third set of molars come through in your late teens.
Not all patients need to have their wisdom teeth extracted. However, for those who do, at Klahanie Family Dentistry, we offer comfortable wisdom teeth extractions.
We can also refer patients who feel particularly anxious about this kind of procedure. We are in contact with excellent oral surgeons who can take extra measures to ensure that these patients have the best possible experience.
Smiles are constantly changing, and at Klahanie Family Dentistry, we aim to maintain our patients’ teeth bright and healthy in every stage of life.
Video 01:01 | While healthy wisdom teeth are an asset to your mouth, wisdom teeth that don’t fully erupt or that grow in sideways can lead to tooth decay, infection or pain. Discover what your dentist can do to help you decide whether your wisdom teeth should be removed.
Does every patient have wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth (also called third molars) typically erupt in patients between 17 and 21 years old. Every patient is different, and they can have between zero to four third molars. Few patients have more than four – less likely, but still possible. However, most people have four wisdom teeth. Sometimes they don’t even emerge in the oral cavity – but they are still there, trapped inside the jawbone.
Do all wisdom teeth need to be removed?
In some patients, wisdom teeth erupt with no major inconveniences and don’t need to be removed. However, quite often, these molars don’t have enough space in the jaw to emerge correctly. That’s why, in many cases, they end up becoming impacted (stuck in the jaw and unable to erupt) or positioned at an angle that makes it difficult to maintain the area clean and healthy. In both cases, dentists indicate the extraction of the molars to help prevent more significant problems such as cavities, gum disease, and crooked teeth.
Photo showing x-ray of wisdom teeth that should be removed.
How is the extraction procedure of wisdom teeth?
The extraction of third molars usually takes about one to two hours, and patients are allowed to leave the clinic shortly after it’s completed. This time can vary depending on how complex the procedure is: impacted molars take more time than well-positioned ones.
Regardless of the difficulty of the extraction, the dentist will first numb the area with local anesthesia. After that, in simple extractions, he will proceed to remove the tooth right after the injection. In complex (surgical) extractions, on the other hand, the dentist will need to perform a small incision in the gum tissue to access the tooth. Often, the tooth is cut into smaller pieces to make the procedure more straightforward.
Once the extraction is completed, the surgical site needs to be closed to begin the healing process. For the first two or three days, the patient should expect increasing swelling of the cheeks. However, as days pass by, the soreness will fade. Before leaving the office, the dentist will prescribe medications to ease that discomfort.
What happens when patients don’t have their wisdom teeth removed?
As mentioned before, not all patients need to have their wisdom teeth extracted. But when, after clinical and radiographic evaluation, the dentist advises their extraction, not removing the wisdom teeth can eventually cause significant problems.
Third molars can be a great inconvenience for patients who have already undergone orthodontic treatment to straighten their teeth. As they struggle to come in, they put too much pressure on the neighboring teeth. This can result in further misalignment and teeth crowding.
Another typical risk associated with wisdom teeth is gum disease. When these molars come in the wrong angle or position, keeping the area clean can be challenging. As a result, the gum tissue around the molar can get infected and swollen, causing the typical – and dreaded – wisdom teeth pain.
For all these reasons, Dr. Howey always recommends taking a proactive approach to wisdom teeth extractions. Patients should get in touch with our office straight away if they start to experience any of the following symptoms:
Sometimes other teeth apart from the third molars need to be extracted. Listed below, you will find the most usual reasons why dentists choose to remove other teeth:
If possible, the dentist will always try to save the natural teeth. Wisdom teeth are the only exception, as their extraction is considered a preventive procedure. After those teeth are removed, the patient will chew with no problems, and his smile will remain as bright as before.
Why should patients get an infected tooth removed?
Teeth extensively affected by decay or trauma can affect your well-being if left in the oral cavity. Decay, for example, can progress to neighboring teeth. Periodontal disease can advance and affect the jawbone. Teeth with traumatic damage, such as cracks and fractures, are more vulnerable to bacteria, causing further problems in the future.
After removing the affected teeth, it is always recommended to fill the resulting black gap with either a dental bridge or a dental implant. During your visit to the dental office, Dr. Howey will explain the different alternatives to find the most suitable one for you and your oral health.