My Blog

Posts for tag: wisdom teeth

December 29, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

Not everyone will need their wisdom teeth extracted, but it's a common dental procedure for many people as they reach their 20's. In fact, wisdom teethit's estimated that about 85% of people will have their wisdom teeth removed. At Arbor Hills Dental in Newburg, Oregon, Dr. Angela Toy and her team carefully evaluate each of our patients' dental health to determine the best and most beneficial treatments. If you still have your wisdom teeth, you might wonder when and if you'll need them removed. You've come to the right place to learn more!

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth, also called third molars, are so named because they tend to come in during the early twenties, a time when you've had some real-world experience from which to gain wisdom. They are positioned at the back of your mouth and are often very large. Some anthropologists speculate that wisdom teeth were a useful part of prehistorical people's anatomy; they needed more teeth with which to chew their diet of meat and raw plants and vegetables. Over time, humans' skulls and jaws have become smaller and many do not have room for their wisdom teeth to grow in properly. This could help explain why wisdom tooth removal is so common today.

Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?

If wisdom teeth have come in straight and complete, they may not require removal. However, this is not the case for many of your Newburg dentist's patients. Oftentimes the wisdom teeth will only come in partially, leaving spaces under the gums to trap food and lead to infection. They may even be unable to emerge at all, often causing painful cysts to develop around them. Their unusual grown patterns can also cause your other teeth to shift out of place, which could lead to crookedness or other problems. An X-ray taken during an examination can help Dr. Toy determine if wisdom tooth removal can help you.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Angela Toy regarding your wisdom teeth or any other dental procedure in Newburg, Oregon, contact Arbor Hills Dental today!


A few days before the Oscars, Vanity Fair magazine asked Academy Awards host Neil Patrick Harris to name his most treasured possession. Was it his Tony award statuette for best leading actor in a musical? His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? The stethoscope he wore while playing teenaged doctor Doogie Howser on TV? No, as it turns out, the 41-year-old actor’s most treasured possession is… his wisdom teeth. Yes, you read that correctly. “Oddly, I still have my four wisdom teeth,” Harris said. “I refuse to let them go or I’ll lose my wise parts.”

How odd is it for a 41-year-old to have wisdom teeth? Actually, not that odd at all. While it is true that wisdom teeth are often removed, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this. It all depends on whether they are causing problems now, or are likely to cause problems in the future.

The trouble wisdom teeth cause is related to the fact that they are the last molars to come in, and that molars are large in size. By the time wisdom teeth appear between the ages of 17 and 21, there often is not enough room for them in the jaw. Sometimes it’s because you may have inherited a jaw size that’s too small for your tooth size; and generally speaking, the size of the human jaw has evolved to become smaller over time.

If room is lacking, the adjacent molar (that came in earlier) can interfere with the path of eruption — causing the wisdom tooth to come in at an odd angle. The wisdom tooth can hit up against that other tooth, possibly causing pain or damaging the adjacent tooth. This is known as “impaction.” Sometimes the wisdom tooth breaks only partway through the gum tissue, leaving a space beneath the gum line that’s almost impossible to clean, causing infection. A serious oral infection can jeopardize the survival of teeth, and even spread to other parts of the body.

If a wisdom tooth is impacted, will you know it? Not necessarily. A tooth can be impacted without causing pain. But we can see the position of your wisdom teeth on a dental x-ray and help you make an informed decision as to whether they should stay or go. If removal is the best course of action, rest assured that this procedure is completely routine and that your comfort and safety is our highest priority. If there is no great risk to keeping them, as Neil Patrick Harris has done, we can simply continue to monitor their condition at your regular dental checkups. It will be particularly important to make sure you are reaching those teeth with your brush and floss, and that you keep to your schedule of regular professional cleanings at the dental office. All healthy teeth are indeed worth treasuring.

If you would like more information about wisdom teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”

By Arbor Hills Dental
May 16, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: wisdom teeth  

The truth about wisdom teeth from your Newberg dentist

You’ve probably heard all kinds of advice on whether you should take your wisdom teeth out or leave them in. It’s difficult to know what to do, so Dr. Angela Toy at Arbor Hills Dental in Newberg, Oregon wants to help you decide what to do with your wisdom teeth.Wisdom Teeth

You may feel your wisdom teeth erupting when you are between 17 and 25 years old. Some people don’t ever get wisdom teeth and other people get all 4 wisdom teeth. In rare cases, a person may actually have an extra set of wisdom teeth!

You may feel pain and pressure behind your second molars, and may have difficulty opening and closing your mouth because your mouth feels tight. Sometimes people have no symptoms at all from their wisdom teeth.

Dr. Toy will evaluate whether you should have your wisdom teeth taken out, based on a number of criteria including:

  • Do you have space in your mouth to accommodate your wisdom teeth?
  • Will you be able to easily clean your wisdom teeth?
  • Are your wisdom teeth erupting straight and in-line with other teeth?
  • Are your wisdom teeth completely impacted in bone so they will never erupt?
  • Are your wisdom teeth causing you pain?

If you want to keep your wisdom teeth, Dr. Toy wants you to know some of the issues you might have, such as:

  • Pain, pressure when your teeth erupt
  • Difficulty opening and closing your mouth
  • Crowding of your other teeth

If you do keep your wisdom teeth, you will have difficulty keeping your wisdom teeth clean because they are so far back. You may have decay or bone loss from periodontal disease which could affect your other teeth.

If you have wisdom teeth that are buried in bone (impacted) and you decide to leave them in, cysts can form around them, destroying bone in your jaw.

When you are deciding about your wisdom teeth, don’t make the decision alone. Get the help and advice of an expert like Dr. Toy. So call Dr. Angela Toy at Arbor Hills Dental in Newberg, Oregon today and find out more about your wisdom teeth!

By Arbor Hills Dental
April 19, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Via a recent Instagram post, pop diva Ariana Grande became the latest young celebrity to publicly acknowledge a dental milestone: having her wisdom teeth removed. The singer of hits such as “Break Free” and “Problem” posted an after-surgery picture of herself (wearing her signature cat-eye eyeliner), with a caption addressed to her teeth: “Peace out, final three wisdom teeth. It’s been real.”

With the post, Grande joined several other celebs (including Lily Allen, Paris Hilton and Emile Hirsch) who have shared their dental surgery experience with fans. Will "wisdom teeth removal" become a new trending topic on social media? We aren’t sure — but we can explain a bit about the procedure, and why many younger adults may need it.

Technically called the “third molars,” wisdom teeth usually begin to emerge from the gums between the ages of 17 and 25 — presumably, around the same time that a certain amount of wisdom emerges. Most people have four of these big molars, which are located all the way in the back of the mouth, on the left and right sides of the upper and lower jaws.

But when wisdom teeth begin to appear, there’s often a problem: Many people don’t have enough space in their jaws to accommodate them. When these molars lack sufficient space to fully erupt (emerge), they are said to be “impacted.” Impacted teeth can cause a number of serious problems: These may include pain, an increased potential for bacterial infections, periodontal disease, and even the formation of cysts (pockets of infection below the gum line), which can eventually lead to tooth and bone loss.

In most cases, the best treatment for impacted wisdom teeth is extraction (removal) of the problem teeth. Wisdom tooth extraction is a routine, in-office procedure that is usually performed under local anesthesia or “conscious sedation,” a type of anesthesia where the patient remains conscious (able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli), but is free from any pain or distress. Anti-anxiety medications may also be given, especially for those who are apprehensive about dental procedures.

So if you find you need your wisdom teeth extracted, don’t be afraid to “Break Free” like Ariana Grande did; whether you post the results on social media is entirely up to you. If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”