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Dentistry/horizontal wisdom teeth


QUESTION: Hello Doctor, I am 37 and have 2 horizontal wisdom teeth on the bottom. They have never hurt but today I noticed a little pain and some swelling  is this a sign I should have out? I was hopeing it would go away on it's own, I was thinking about waiting and seeing what happens.

ANSWER: Joan - Without, at least, seeing xrays of the area it is a little difficult for me tell you whether or not they should be extracted now.  Usually, when the symptoms occur, bacteria from the mouth is being trapped under the gum tissue from periodontal pockets.  The bacteria will go through periods of percolation and an infection will often occur.  So if you were my patient, I would probably recommend extractions.  My suggestion is to see a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon for an evaluation.  

To reduce some of the pain for a little while, you can begin warm salt water rinses, in the area of the wisdom teeth.  Do it for 1-2 minutes, 4-5 times a day.  I wish you well and hope it goes well.

If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact me again.

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QUESTION: Hi, thank you for answering my question, the dental tech did say she seen a little bit of decay on my wisdom tooth, one more quick question, if you have a widom tooth on the top that has never come down and is just up in the jaw,and the only way you can see it is on a ex-ray  do they usually have to be pulled to? Thanks

Joan -  the upper wisdom tooth do not always need removal as long as they are not inflamed, there is no pathology associated with it and the tooth is not digging into the tooth in front.  

So it all depends on the position of the tooth and the possibility of problems developing in the future.  If that is the situation of potential future problems, removing it early can prevent the future episode.


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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and I am available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.


Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicine for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor and State University School of Dentistry.

American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

BA -University of Connecticut DMD - University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

Awards and Honors
National Honor Society (OKU), Philadelphia County Dental Society, Mosby Book Award, Oral Surgery Honors, Summa Cum Laude

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