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Dr. John D. Wallace, D.D.S., M.D., Dallas Oral Surgery Associates

Best Dentists: Oral-Maxillofacial Surgery

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What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are molars, but unfortunately they don’t provide wisdom. Instead, they often cause problems in adolescents and adults. Most people’s mouths simply don’t have enough room to accommodate third molars. As a result, wisdom teeth often become encased in gum or bone tissue, which causes pain and pressure. Infection may also occur, which can damage the jawbone and adjacent teeth. In rare circumstances, wisdom teeth develop into cysts or tumors that create a larger problem and require more extensive surgery. If wisdom teeth do erupt, they typically cause pain, are difficult to clean, have a higher chance of cavities, and can contribute to crowding of the existing teeth. Wisdom teeth can make for an unappealing smile and increase the risk of infection, pain, gum disease, and tooth decay.

If my wisdom teeth don’t bother me, does this mean I should leave them alone?

Not necessarily. It is best to have a full evaluation by a Board Certified Oral Surgeon. In many cases, we recommend removing wisdom teeth during the teen years before problems develop. Being proactive is a benefit because the damage from wisdom teeth can increase through the years, causing the extraction procedure to become more complex when problems do arise. You certainly don’t want to wait until you experience pain from infection, so it’s better to remove the wisdom teeth before they become a problem. We prefer wisdom teeth extraction for our patients as teens, while they are young, healthy, and able to heal faster. Also, by taking a proactive approach, you can plan when the removal will take place at your convenience rather than being forced to alter your schedule due to an emergency procedure.

Is wisdom teeth removal as painful as it used to be?

Fortunately, no. New medicines that help patients go to sleep are far superior to the anesthesia that parents of today’s teens probably had when they had their wisdom teeth removed. Today’s medicines produce less of a “hangover effect.” This, combined with more efficient procedures, result in less recovery time. Most teens require minimal pain killers and are back to normal activities within a few days after surgery. Adult patients typically require longer healing time, hence the benefit of early removal.

“We prefer wisdom teeth extraction for our patients as teens, while they are young, healthy, and able to heal faster.”

Why is it important to be selective when choosing a dentist for wisdom teeth removal?

We highly recommend choosing an experienced oral surgeon with privileges in a licensed ambulatory surgery center. The safety standards are far beyond what a typical dental office is required to have. Next to our office at Dallas Oral Surgery Associates on Walnut Hill Lane, is a state-of-the-art Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC), Woodhill Surgery Center, fully accredited by state and federal authorities, including Medicare and Medicaid, as well as the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF).

Woodhill Surgery Center is currently the only oral surgery focused facility in the DFW area to attain this distinction. Patients receive top-quality care built to these strict standards. We’ve combined the advantages of hospital care with the benefits of an on-campus facility to deliver quality care that’s more cost-effective and less stressful for our patients. We perform surgery Monday through Saturday to accommodate our patients’ busy schedules. To maintain accreditation, we comply with stringent state and federal laws and regulations. The AAAASF accreditation certificate symbolizes Woodhill Surgery Center’s dedication to provide an extraordinary level of care. It also serves to recognize a commitment to meet and exceed national standards set by the AAAASF.

Dr. John Wallace began his college education at age 15 at the University of North Texas through a state- wide math and science magnet school program. Upon completion of his high school requirements, Dr. Wallace transferred to The University of Texas at Austin where he majored in biology. He received his dental degree from The University of Texas at San Antonio, where he graduated summa cum laude, with honors in research, after a rigorous internship at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. After earning his medical degree from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dr. Wallace completed his general surgery and oral and maxillofacial surgery training at Parkland Memorial Hospital. He continued his training with a fellowship in craniomaxillofacial and orthognathic surgery at the world-renowned Posnick Center and Georgetown University Hospital. Dr. Wallace’s clinical interests include soft tissue and bone grafting procedures and orthognathic/reconstructive jaw surgery. He also travels the globe performing cleft lip and palate mission trips.