"We chose Emory Oral and Maxillofacial for my daughter's oral surgery because we have great confidence in Emory Healthcare..."
— Sheila H., Atlanta, GA

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are wisdom teeth?

A. Wisdom teeth are your third set of molars. They usually come in during your teen years. (Bet you thought you were done teething.)

Q. Why do my wisdom teeth need to come out?

A. If you're 16 or older and your wisdom teeth haven't appeared, they may be impacted (stuck). Even if they're fully exposed, they may crowd your other teeth and push them out of alignment. By having your wisdom teeth removed now, you can avoid problems with your teeth later.

Q. What does "impacted" mean?

A. Impacted wisdom teeth have not erupted from the gum. They may be stuck, which can cause pain. If you can't feel your third set of molars, there's a good chance they're impacted and may need to come out.

Q. Why can't my dentist take my wisdom teeth out?

A. Wisdom tooth removal is oral surgery and is best done by a qualified oral surgeon—particularly if the teeth are impacted. The surgeons at Emory's Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery are among the best.

Q. What happens if I don't have my wisdom teeth taken out?

A. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a variety of problems, including pain, infection, gum disease, and tooth decay. Fully exposed teeth may push your other teeth out of alignment and cause other problems later in life.

Q. How long do surgery and recovery take?

A. Having your wisdom teeth removed usually takes 30 to 45 minutes. The recovery process requires just a few days' rest at home. At Emory's Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Division, a qualified team will explain the process and guide you from initial consultation through recovery.

Q. What kind of anesthesia will I have?

A. You might have local anesthesia or IV sedation/general anesthesia in the office. Your oral surgeon will talk with you about the options before your surgery.

Q. Can I drive home after the surgery?

A. No. Because you'll have had anesthesia, you'll need a parent or guardian to drive you home after the surgery and take care of you for the next couple of days during your recovery.

Q. What is dry socket?

A. Alveolar osteitis, or dry socket, is a temporary but painful condition that may occur if the blood clot at the extraction site disintegrates or dislodges. Don't use a straw or smoke while your mouth is healing, as any sucking action can cause dry socket and delay the healing process.

Q. Does health insurance cover wisdom teeth removal?

A. Many health insurance plans cover wisdom tooth removal. Check with your plan administrator to find whether yours does.

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