Wisdom Teeth Removal

The Basics of the Wisdom Teeth

The third molars, often called the wisdom teeth, earned their nickname because they usually erupt in the mid-to-late teen years or early 20s when we’re supposedly older and wiser. If they’re properly aligned and the gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth may not need to be extracted. Unfortunately, however, it’s common for patients to lack space in the jaw to accommodate them. When that’s the case, the wisdom teeth can become impacted (stuck beneath the bone or soft tissue) or erupt in a position that can damage the surrounding teeth, supporting bone and tissue. When proper eruption isn’t possible, the early extraction of wisdom teeth is strongly recommended by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. To find out if you’re a candidate for wisdom teeth removal in Knoxville, schedule a visit with Dr. Eisenberg today online or by calling us at (865) 410-3075!

What is
Wisdom Tooth Removal?

Wisdom teeth removal is the process of having the wisdom teeth extracted because they’re not able to erupt properly. When you visit Knoxville Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery to have your wisdom teeth evaluated, Dr. Eisenberg will perform a thorough exam and assess your x-rays. She’ll determine if the wisdom teeth are currently problematic or if they could lead to problems down the road. If you do require treatment, we offer wisdom teeth extraction in Knoxville, TN at our practice.

Most patients opt for some form of sedation for the procedure. Dr. Eisenberg and our team have the training, licensing and experience to offer a variety of different types of anesthesia, including IV sedation and general anesthesia in the office. We use state-of-the-art monitoring equipment for optimum safety.

Once you’re sedated and/or the area has been numbed with local anesthetic, Dr. Eisenberg will make a small opening above the wisdom tooth, creating a path for it to be extracted. Depending on the type of impaction and your teeth, she may also have to remove bony obstructions or break the tooth up into smaller pieces for easier, more efficient removal. Once the wisdom tooth has been extracted, Dr. Eisenberg will clean the area and close the opening with dissolvable stitches.

You’ll be given local anesthesia after the procedure to keep you comfortable on your trip home and to help you rest. We also offer EXPAREL®, an opioid-free pain medication. Upon injection, EXPAREL provides targeted pain relief that lasts for 72 hours, eliminating or reducing the need for opioid-based drugs.

Anesthesia patient

Benefits Of  Wisdom Tooth Removal

Enhances Oral Hygiene

Removing the wisdom teeth can make brushing and flossing easier, which keeps tooth decay and gum disease at bay.

Maintains Your Smile

Depending on their positioning, extracting wisdom teeth can maintain the alignment of your smile and prevent crowding and damage.

Helps You Avoid Complications

Wisdom tooth extraction reduces the risk of the infections, tumors and cysts that can occur from impaction.

Why Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Poorly positioned or impacted wisdom teeth can cause an array of problems. Patients might show symptoms as early as 12 or 13 years of age, while others may not notice complications until their early 20s. Problems with wisdom teeth tend to occur much more frequently after the age of 30.

Issues can include:

The most common problem we see with wisdom teeth is pericoronitis (a localized gum infection). This is where the tissue around an impacted wisdom tooth becomes irritated and infected, leading to swelling, stiffness, pain, and problems with chewing and/or swallowing.

Cyst Formation

Fluid-filled “balloons,” called cysts, can develop in the jawbone as a result of impacted teeth. As they slowly expand, they can destroy adjacent bone and, occasionally, nearby teeth. Though rare, tumors can also occur because of delayed wisdom tooth removal.


Impacted or poorly positioned wisdom teeth can exert pressure that may contribute to crowded teeth. This crowding is most common after a patient has had braces and is usually most noticeable with the front teeth, particularly the lower front teeth.

Damage to Adjacent Teeth

If there isn’t enough room to properly clean around a wisdom tooth, the second molar, which is the tooth located directly in front, can be affected, leading to decay, bone loss around the tooth and gum disease.

Treatment Considerations

The early evaluation of wisdom teeth can be incredibly beneficial, and it’s ideal to remove impacted wisdom teeth before their root structure is fully formed. As wisdom teeth develop, the roots lengthen and the jaw bone becomes more dense. This is why having impacted wisdom teeth extracted in your 30s, 40s or beyond is tied to a higher rate of complications and longer recovery time. In general, you will heal more quickly and predictably and have fewer complications if wisdom teeth are removed when you’re in your teens or early 20s.

The exact process and complexity of the procedure will depend on your individual case (i.e., whether you have soft tissue impaction, partial bony impaction, complete bony impaction, etc.). However, no matter what the issue is with your wisdom teeth, Dr. Eisenberg and our team use cutting-edge technology and techniques for efficient, safe wisdom tooth extractions with minimal post-operative discomfort.

When having your wisdom teeth removed:

  • We may give you antibiotics or corticosteroids one day before your surgery to reduce post-operative pain and swelling.
  • If you’ll be receiving anesthesia, it’s imperative that you do not eat or drink anything (excluding prescription medications with a sip of water) for at least 6 hours – preferably longer – before your procedure. Having anything in your stomach can increase the risk for serious anesthetic complications, including nausea and vomiting. If you don’t follow these guidelines, your surgery will be rescheduled.
  • We ask that a parent or responsible adult accompanies you to the office for your procedure and plans to stay with you for the rest of the day. Wisdom tooth removal takes about 30 to 45 minutes and you’ll probably be in the office for 60 minutes. You will be sleepy for most of the day after your surgery.
  • The local anesthesia can last until the following day and shouldn’t be confused with a nerve injury.
  • Dr. Eisenberg may provide you with a prescription for pain medication after surgery, which will be sent electronically to your pharmacy of choice. Once the local anesthesia or EXPAREL wears off, try non-narcotic, anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, first. If that does not adequately alleviate your pain, you can begin your prescription pain medication.
  • You might notice a sensation of your gums feeling swollen and pulling away from your teeth. This is all part of the normal recovery and will subside in a few days.
  • We recommend starting your post-operative diet with clear liquids, such as broth. You can then graduate to soft foods like Jell-O, yogurt and smoothies, gradually transitioning back to your normal diet as your body feels ready.

Your Comfort is Our Top Priority

At our Knoxville, Tennessee oral surgery practice, we rely on cutting-edge technology and our in-depth experience to offer high quality care to patients of all ages in a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere. If you’re ready to maintain or restore your oral health and smile aesthetics, schedule a visit with us today!

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