Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom Teeth: A Guide for Parents and Patients


You’ve been told you need your wisdom teeth out. What’s next?

The removal of wisdom teeth is a routine procedure in our office, but it probably doesn’t feel that way to you. For many of our patients, just hearing the words “surgery” and “extraction” tends to bring up some fears. Dr. Meyer, Dr. McElroy, Dr. Paterson, Dr. Gelband and Dr. Shah want you to know that wisdom teeth extraction is safe, quick, and comfortable.

What are wisdom teeth, anyway?

We each get three sets of molars during our lifetime – the first molars arrive at age six, the second at age 12, and the third molars develop during the late teens and early twenties. Because it is during this age that children become wiser and transition into adulthood, we refer to the “third molars” as “wisdom teeth”.

Why they need to be pulled:

Your mouth was designed to hold 28 teeth, not 32. By the time your wisdom teeth start to grow, those 28 slots are already filled, making it difficult for them to grow properly. That’s why 9 out of 10 people find themselves with at least one impacted wisdom tooth that requires extraction. Even when properly positioned, wisdom teeth can easily become infected and are at risk for cysts and tumors (see “The Trouble with Wisdom Teeth”, below).

You Don’t Have to Suffer from Wisdom Tooth Pain!

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With wisdom teeth, everything is timing.

You may have noticed that many of your friends are having their wisdom teeth pulled out too. Why? That’s because there is an optimal (yet fleeting) opportunity between the ages of 17-25 when the tooth roots haven’t fully formed yet. Thus, the risk of damaging nearby nerves, bones and teeth during this time is significantly less.

Wisdom Teeth Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of wisdom teeth, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to wisdom teeth are discussed.

Wisdom Teeth Presentation


Choosing the Right Oral Surgeon for your Child

As oral surgery specialists with extensive training and experience, we are able to offer a different kind of “wisdom teeth experience” to our patients and their families. We are with you every step of the way and pay extra attention to the most critical parts of your child’s care, including:

  • Anesthesia with a variety of options available.
  • Compassion and comfort make the experience as pleasant as possible.
  • Home care and after-hours contact information.
  • A thoughtful surgical strategy to minimize the need for invasive techniques.
  • Careful consideration of timing to ensure the easiest recovery possible.

The Cost of Wisdom Teeth Removal

The cost of wisdom teeth removal varies depending on several circumstances (positioning, level of impaction, number of teeth) that are unique to your teen’s case. We will discuss all costs with you upfront and can help you determine whether your insurance offers any benefits for the procedure.

The Cost of Waiting

Because it is so common for wisdom teeth to cause problems such as infection, pain, damage to neighboring teeth and, in rare circumstances, cysts and tumors, it is generally recognized as standard practice to remove them in most people during the late teens and early twenties, before the roots have fully developed. Waiting to remove them increases the likelihood of problems and complications should they need to be removed down the road.

Complications of Wisdom Tooth Removal

As with any surgical procedure, there are some possible complications associated with the removal of the third molars. However, since the procedure has been very well tested, these complications (nerve injuries, fractures and injury to the joint) are very rare, and, if the surgery is performed at an early age, the risk is even less.

The Trouble with Wisdom Teeth

Are you still feeling unsure? Consider this: Wisdom teeth that are not removed can cause the following problems throughout your life:

A representation of a pericoronitis infection on a wisdom tooth


Your gums can become infected, a condition known as “pericoronitis”, due to the wisdom teeth unsuccessfully trying to push through the gum tissue. This condition, which causes pain, swelling and problems swallowing, can recur periodically.

An example of a cyst formation on a wisdom tooth

Cysts and Benign Tumors:

Cysts are fluid-filled pockets that can form inside the jawbone when wisdom teeth are impacted. They can be very damaging and difficult to treat as they destroy jawbone and even neighboring teeth.

An illustration of teeth crowding caused by a wisdom tooth

Crowding and Alignment Issues:

It should be no surprise that impacted wisdom teeth crowd your smile, causing misalignment issues, even if you have had braces

A visual of a wisdom tooth damaging an adjacent tooth

Damage to Nearby Teeth:

Wisdom teeth are notorious for damaging their neighbors by making it difficult to practice good hygiene in the area. This often results in decay, gum disease and sometimes bone loss.

If you have been putting off wisdom teeth surgery, give us a call – we can give you the calm, safe, comfortable experience you are looking for!

Central Jersey Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, P.A.

5 out of 5 stars based on 69 wisdom teeth reviews

Dr. Paterson is a terrific Dr. I came to him for a wisdom tooth extraction and having not gone thru this procedure before was quite anxious and apprehensive. From the very first visit thru to the procedure completion, the Dr. and his support staff were excellent. Special thanks goes to Angela who really gave me the confidence and support I needed before, during and after the procedure. Dr. Paterson entered to start the procedure and he was so calming and caring. I am now in recovery and I sit here less than a day later with almost no pain and healing well. All of my concerns and apprehension vanished. Dr. Paterson will be the first Dr. I go see if I need any of his services in future. I can only recommend Dr. Paterson and the staff at his Matawan office to anyone who required his services.

- Larry C

5 out of 5 stars on

Office staff were very attentive and helpful. Dr Myer was extremely thorough, took time to explain everything in detail. Anesthesiologist was also very professional and compassionate. Extremely pleased with the overall experience!!!

- Julia S

5 out of 5 stars on


- Annmarie A

5 out of 5 stars on

Dr.Shah performed the surgery to take out two of my wisdom teeth. It felt like the procedure lasted about 2 minutes. I had no issue with the anesthesia, and it felt like I had just blinked and everything was over.

- Danielle H

5 out of 5 stars on

Agnes was really nice and kind!

- Andrew G

5 out of 5 stars on

Dr Patterson and Dr Meyer are wonderful!!!! They put me at ease with the removal of my wisdom teeth and I have no pain! They are amazing and very easy to talk to!! Definitely recommend!

- Madison A

5 out of 5 stars on

Dr. Paterson performed my wisdom teeth surgery. I was extremely scared of this surgery but him and his staff helped me feel comfortable and get through it. He was also understanding of my situation and why I was scared and never made me feel judged. The recovery process for me has been smooth and quick. Thank you to all the staff working so hard during these times to make sure their patients are healthy and risking their own health for others. You were all so kind and wonderful to me.

- Jaimee r R

5 out of 5 stars on

Great experience. Highly recommend!

- Abigail R

5 out of 5 stars on

Old Bridge - John McElroy

- Amanda A

5 out of 5 stars on

Each staff member was knowledgeable and compassionate. Follow-up care was clear and thorough. All went out of their way to reassure me and my daughter who was the patient.

- Teresa R

5 out of 5 stars on