Wisdom Teeth Removal

Most people need their wisdom teeth, or third molars, removed to protect their other teeth. Our dentists specialize in wisdom teeth removal in Santa Barbara County, California.

Wisdom Teeth Removal in Santa Barbara County, CA

The wisdom teeth are the last set of molars in the back of your mouth. They typically erupt during your late teens or early twenties. Sometimes, wisdom teeth can cause dental problems like overcrowding, impaction, damage to other teeth, gum disease (periodontitis) or infection. Those issues can lead to pain, difficulty chewing, bad breath and more serious health concerns.

When wisdom teeth are causing problems — or are likely to in the future — your dentist may recommend wisdom tooth extraction. At Pathway Dental Group, we’re here to help you resolve any wisdom teeth issues with our unique mix of clinical expertise and compassionate care.

Do you need wisdom teeth removed in Santa Barbara County? Pathway Dental Group offers wisdom teeth removal at our three locations in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Lompoc.

  • What are wisdom teeth?

    Your wisdom teeth are the third set of molars in the very back of your mouth. Most people develop four wisdom teeth, one on each side of the top and bottom of the mouth. However, up to 35% of Americans have no wisdom teeth. Others may develop only one or two.

    Scientists believe that wisdom teeth helped our ancestors chew a broader variety of raw foods, such as nuts, seeds and crunchy leaves. Thanks to a softer diet and the ability to cut food into smaller pieces, modern humans no longer need wisdom teeth for their original purpose. However, they remain a part of our evolutionary heritage.

  • How do I know if I need to get my wisdom teeth removed?

    Unlike other teeth, most people only develop one set of wisdom teeth in their lifetime. They typically don’t erupt until your late teens or early twenties. At that point, your other adult teeth have already settled into position.

    Wisdom teeth may erupt crooked or sideways, causing overcrowding. Due to their proximity to nerves and sinus cavities, they can cause considerable pain, infection, headaches and other problems. They may also be difficult to care for and make it hard to brush adjacent teeth, leading to tooth decay and periodontitis.

    Your dentist may recommend extraction if your wisdom teeth:

    • Cause damage to adjacent teeth or the jaw
    • Develop a cyst around them
    • Do not have enough room to erupt
    • Have cavities or inflamed gums around them
    • Trap food or have spaces where bacteria can cause tooth decay and infection
  • What are the benefits of wisdom tooth extractions?

    Wisdom teeth extraction significantly reduces the likelihood of future oral health problems. These issues include tooth decay, infection, bad breath, bone loss and jaw damage. If you are experiencing pain due to impacted wisdom teeth, removal will provide relief and greatly improve your overall quality of life.

  • What is an impacted wisdom tooth?

    An impacted wisdom tooth means there isn’t enough space for the tooth to emerge from the gum line. The degree of impaction depends on the position of the tooth related to the jaw. You may have soft tissue impaction, partial bone impaction or complete bone impaction.

  • How do I relieve wisdom tooth pain?

    As wisdom teeth grow in, they can cause swelling or bleeding, headaches or tooth pain. If you are uncomfortable, the following tips may help:

    • Apply a cold compress or a warm heating pad to your cheeks.
    • Rinse with warm salt water.
    • Use peppermint essential oils or clove oil.
    • Take aspirin or an over-the-counter pain reliever.
  • How do wisdom tooth extractions work?

    If you regularly visit the dentist, we take panoramic X-rays to track the position of your teeth. This helps your dentist identify many possible issues, including problematic wisdom teeth, before they become more serious.

    If you haven’t seen a dentist in a while, that’s OK. X-rays are still an important early step in diagnosing a problem with wisdom teeth. We can take them at the time of your initial consultation. During this consultation, we’ll see if your wisdom teeth have fully erupted or there’s any impaction. This process helps us create an appropriate treatment plan, which is typically like the removal of any other tooth.

    We’ll help you set your appointment for wisdom teeth removal in Santa Barbara County, so it fits into your schedule. We make it easy to complete the necessary forms ahead of time, too. That means a smoother experience and less time spent waiting.

    You will have several sedation options, including IV sedation, during the procedure itself. That way, you can take the approach that is most comfortable for you. Treatment generally takes about an hour.

    Once the procedure is finished, you will rest comfortably under our supervision until you are ready to go home. Having someone available to pick you up will help you get home safely. We’ll give you some instructions to help with the recovery process at home.

  • How long does it take to heal after wisdom teeth removal?

    Most people are back to normal within three days following wisdom tooth extraction. While you need to avoid strenuous activity, straws, and hard or crunchy foods, recovery is usually a fast process. Our staff will provide detailed aftercare instructions to help you heal and stay comfortable after treatment.

More Questions?

If you have more questions about wisdom teeth removal please contact our office and we will be happy to discuss further.