The third molar teeth are commonly referred to as wisdom teeth. They are the last teeth to develop and to erupt into the mouth. The capacity of the mouth is often insufficient to accommodate the full eruption of wisdom teeth resulting in what are known as impacted teeth. These impacted teeth can be associated with problems such as infection, development of cysts and tumors, and possible movement of other teeth. It is recommended that they be removed as a way to prevent these potential consequences. The optimal time to remove wisdom teeth is before they are fully developed, usually in the late teenage years.
Dental implants are the most technologically advanced way to replace missing teeth. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth and eliminate the need to alter adjacent teeth for bridge work. Implants can be used to replace a single tooth, to replace multiple teeth, or to replace the entire upper or lower arch of teeth. Implants are small titanium posts which are surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw where teeth are missing. During the healing phase, surrounding bone unites with the implant and this complex creates a strong anchor for replacement teeth. Once completed, implants look and function like natural teeth.
Once teeth have been lost, the jaw bone which once held the teeth in place slowly resorbs. After a period of time, the bone resorption can be substantial enough that there may not be adequate length or width of residual jaw bone to place a dental implant of sufficient size. Bone grafting techniques are used to recreate the necessary volume of bone in these areas so that an appropriate implant may be placed.
Other common procedures include exposure of impacted canine teeth for orthodontic purposes, extraction of nonrestorable teeth, surgical endodontics, soft tissue grafting, biopsy of abnormal or suspicious lesions within the mouth or on the skin of the face, management of infections of the mouth, jaw or neck, and corrective jaw surgery.