The wisdom teeth, or third molars, typically emerge from the gums in a person’s late teens or early twenties. In some cases, these molars will develop properly, without disrupting the other teeth. For many patients, however, wisdom teeth removal is necessary to prevent dental disease, tooth damage, aesthetic problems, and ongoing discomfort.
Northern Virginia dentists and orthodontists refer their patients to Dr. Gocke and Dr. Whiting for wisdom teeth removal because of their expertise and experience in the procedure. As an oral and maxillofacial specialist, they perform these extractions nearly every day and treats cases ranging from simple to complex. Families who bring their adolescent children to the practice appreciate Dr. Gocke’s focus on patient comfort and safety. He promotes these goals through advanced pain management techniques without relying on potentially addictive opioid medication.
Wisdom Teeth Removal and Why Our Practice?
When your dentist or orthodontist examines your wisdom teeth in your early teens, he or she may determine that these molars are likely to cause future dental problems. Alternatively, some patients have their wisdom teeth taken out later in life after they begin experiencing pain, dental damage, and other problems. Depending on when you have the procedure, wisdom teeth removal can help you:
- Prevent or resolve tooth decay, infection, and localized periodontal disease.
- Avoid having teeth shift out of alignment.
- Allow neighboring teeth to erupt properly from the gums.
- Prepare for corrective jaw surgery, orthodontics, or Invisalign®.
- Address cysts and tumors that form in the jaw.
Dr. Gocke encourages Northern Virginia patients to come to his practice by age 16 for an evaluation. Early diagnosis will help in timing wisdom teeth removal. Intervention at a young age also means less risk and greater comfort for patients.
This is one of the most common procedures that the practice offers, and our staff has a system that makes the process as efficient and pleasant as possible. During your treatment, we provide a full slate of amenities that include:
- A screen for watching Netflix®.
- Warm blankets.
- A private recovery room.
- Personal icepacks.
Many Northern Virginia parents who are considering treatment for their children are concerned about the addictive risk posed by powerful opioid pain medications. Dr. Gocke understands this risk and has designed his wisdom teeth removal procedure to manage these concerns. His practice has been recognized for its use of EXPAREL®, a non-opioid pain medication that begins working before the wisdom teeth removal surgery is even complete. EXPAREL lasts for several days after the procedure, significantly reducing the need for patients to use other pain medications.
An Overview of Wisdom Teeth Removal With Our Practice
Online registration. In an effort to simplify scheduling, we offer our Northern Virginia patients registration through our website for their appointments.
Getting to know the practice. Usually, the patient and a parent will come in for the initial consultation. We will offer a tour of the office, demonstrate the amenities and technologies we provide and talk about Dr. Gocke’s experience supporting patients.
Meeting Dr. Gocke. During your conversation, Dr. Gocke will talk with you about the condition of your wisdom teeth and any symptoms you are experiencing. You will take some X-rays, get an overview of the wisdom teeth removal process, and receive answers to any questions you may have.
Personalized care. Our team will familiarize you with our post-surgery diet and pain management recommendations. We will give you prescriptions for the medications you may need in advance so that you don’t have to worry about filling them after your surgery.
Payment planning. You will meet with our office’s financial coordinator to plan your treatment. Our practice takes payment two weeks before the surgery.
Pre-treatment reminders. Once you have scheduled your wisdom teeth removal, we will typically call to remind you not to eat or drink for eight hours before the procedure and to confirm that you have arranged a driver to take you home.
What to Expect With Your Treatment
Most of our wisdom teeth removal patients come to our office for their procedure, but we can also provide care for special needs patients in our ambulatory surgical center or at a Northern Virginia children’s hospital.
At our office, you will settle into a memory foam chair where you can watch a show of your choice, request a blanket, and generally get yourself comfortable. We will also begin monitoring your heart rate, which helps us ensure your safety throughout the procedure.
During wisdom teeth removal:
- Gocke will treat you with nitrous oxide, which you may know as “laughing gas.” This common anesthetic approach will help you relax.
- Nearly all of our Northern Virginia patients then receive IV sedation, which allows them to be comfortable throughout the surgery and to get the best possible care.
- The combination of nitrous oxide and IV sedation lets patients reach a deeply relaxed state, during which Dr. Gocke will inject local anesthesia to numb the area around the wisdom teeth.
- Gocke will extract the wisdom teeth and then inject EXPAREL, which should begin working shortly after. The medication will significantly reduce discomfort following surgery.
Your Aftercare Experience
After your wisdom teeth removal procedure, our team will guide you to a private recovery room. We will place moldable icepacks on your cheeks to minimize swelling and bruising.
Before you leave the practice, you will schedule a post-op appointment for one week later. One of our dedicated staff members will also review post-surgery instructions with you and your caregiver. Typically, we advise that you:
- Change your gauze every 30 minutes for the first several hours.
- If prescribed by Dr. Gocke, take ibuprofen every 6 hours.
- Stick to liquids and soft foods for the first day after surgery.
- Swap out icepacks every 30-40 minutes for first 24 hours.
If you are having wisdom teeth removal to prevent future dental concerns, you can expect a normal and healthy smile by the end of your recovery. If you are having the surgery later in life because of problems related to your wisdom teeth, treatment with Dr. Gocke should eliminate the chronic pain and dental complications that you have been experiencing.