Fun fact: wisdom teeth have the most variation of any teeth. There are stories of people having up to 12. With that much variation, and so much potential for problems, wisdom teeth removal is usually a good idea.
Oral health is health, which is why CHP does wisdom teeth removal somewhat routinely at the two dental clinics. We sat down with Edmund Gubler, DDS, from Bozeman Dental Clinic, to learn more about wisdom teeth removal. Find out who needs their wisdom teeth removed, what that procedure looks like, and how you can afford it.
Dr. Gubler takes a practical stance. "Not everyone needs to get their wisdom teeth removed, just like not everyone likes ice cream. But still, 99% of them do."
The big issue with wisdom teeth is, can you keep them clean? “If you’ve never had a cavity in your life, you might be okay,” he said. “But because of their placement in the back of the mouth, they can be very difficult to clean and are prone to cavities.”
Often, wisdom teeth cause problems down the line. Waiting means that surgery will be more difficult, with longer recovery and more complications. Wisdom teeth can cause problems with teeth in front of them. If they grow at an angle, they can dissolve the root of another tooth. All of these factors mean it’s usually a good idea to have them taken out before more costly, painful, and challenging issues crop up down the line.
There are a few situations where it might actually be best to leave wisdom teeth in place. If the tooth lies close to the sinus or nerve on the bottom jaw, then the risk is too high to take it out, Dr. Gubler told us. But that’s pretty rare. He’s only seen one or two cases. So it’s best to see a dental professional for a recommendation tailored to you and your mouth.
During the procedure, the dental team uses a local anesthetic, like they would when doing a filling. So you don’t feel anything.
Recovery from a standard procedure is usually three to four days before you’re back to your normal self.
It’s true that it can be an expensive or cost-prohibitive procedure for some. But there are ways to make it more affordable.
“I tell patients that this doesn’t have to be done today, but it's something to keep on your radar. At community health centers, our fees are lower. We can also remove one tooth at a time, so that lowers the cost each time,” said Dr. Gubler.
CHP has staff onsite to help you find programs to help you pay for important procedures like wisdom teeth removal. Clinics also offer a sliding scale, so you only pay what you can afford.
But whatever you do, don’t put it off. Gubler said, “My advice? Get them looked at before they start causing problems. Be ahead of it.” A routine procedure is better than an emergency one. Wisdom teeth removal can be an important part of preventative care.
If you’re wondering about the next steps to your wisdom teeth removal, or you have questions about how you can afford the surgery, CHP staff can help. Reach out to the Bozeman or Livingston dental clinics for an appointment.