Every year, five million people have their wisdom teeth removed. Also known as “third molars,” these teeth are remnants from a time in human history where our species had larger mouths and jaws to accommodate the extra teeth, but these days they are mostly unnecessary and even can cause pain and infection if not removed.

As your San Francisco wisdom teeth dentist, Dr. Robert M. Walley wants to help make patients more comfortable, but there are certain signs those patients can watch out for to know when the best time would be to have those teeth removed.

When to Remove Wisdom Teeth

So how do you know whether you should have your wisdom teeth removed? The following are the few most common situations in which Dr. Walley will extract wisdom teeth:

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

If the wisdom teeth show up on an x-ray but get trapped (impacted) in your jaw, they can cause bigger problems down the road, such as infections and/or cysts. If x-rays show that wisdom teeth are impacted, the recommendation may be to have them removed.

Wisdom Teeth Can’t Emerge Completely

Sometimes, these molars emerge partially but can’t make their way all the way through the gum. This makes the area hard to clean properly, and we don’t want to keep bacteria traps like that in our mouths. In this case, removing the wisdom teeth is actually safer because it helps to prevent worse dental problems later.

Crowding of Other Teeth

When wisdom teeth make it all the way out of the gums but they clearly are crowding other nearby teeth and moving your smile out of alignment, it may be a good idea to have them removed. Not only can this crowding damage nearby teeth, but it can also make them harder to brush and floss, as well, making you more prone to cavities and gum disease.

Pain or Cysts

In some cases, the wisdom teeth emerging can cause incredible pain and sometimes even cysts. If the teeth are proving problematic at that level, they likely should be removed.

Preemptive Removal

Many dentists will recommend having wisdom teeth surgeries at a younger age when recovery is quicker than it would be at an older age. If x-rays show the potential for some of these problems further down the road, the dentist may recommend having the surgery preemptively before those problems can occur, and while the recovery will come easier.

When They Don’t Require Removal

Sometimes, patients don’t need to have their wisdom teeth removed. Those third molars can stay in your mouth if:


  • The teeth themselves are healthy.
  • They have grown in completely without complications.
  • They are properly positioned and won’t cause shifting among your other teeth.
  • They are positioned in a way that allows them to be cleaned properly.


If you have questions about your wisdom teeth, contact your San Francisco dentist to set up a consultation. We can have a look at the current state of things and make a recommendation about whether the teeth should be removed. And if it does prove necessary, Dr. Walley can remove them safely and comfortably.



Premature tooth loss can really take a toll on your smile—both the way that it looks and the way that it functions. The good news is that there are restorative treatments available to help you rebuild your dream smile. Keep reading to learn more about how our San Francisco dentists treat tooth loss…

Whether you lose a tooth due to an accident or an infection, the resulting hole in your smile is problematic. Our team offers state-of-the-art dental implant replacement teeth to not only improve your dental aesthetics, but to safeguard the health of your smile as well.

Dental implants are unique among tooth replacement treatments in that they replace the tooth root as well as the visible crown. Dental implants have titanium posts that extend into the patient’s jaw tissue, just like a natural tooth root does.

One way to use dental implants is to have individual replacement teeth inserted in spots where your teeth once sat. In this case, we will start with the tooth root, then cap that with an abutment, and finally place your dental restoration on top.

Another way to use dental implant technology is to use just a few titanium roots to hold a larger dental prosthetic, like a denture, in place. This is a great option for people who are missing many consecutive teeth. The titanium roots will hold your dental prosthetic in place, while helping to support surrounding teeth and jawbone tissue.

No matter how you choose to use implant technology, you will benefit from increased prosthetic stability, easy maintenance, and a natural-feeling fit.

If you are currently missing teeth, our San Francisco dental implant dentists strongly encourage you to reach out to your dental team to make a game plan. Timely treatment can help you avoid additional dental damage, discomfort, and expense down the road. Give our team a call to schedule a consultation! 

Our San Francisco dentists believe that all of our patients deserve to have smiles that make them feel confident and happy. Unfortunately, the realities of time and aging can affect your dental aesthetics as you grow older. If you aren’t loving what you see in the mirror every morning, then maybe it is time to consider rejuvenating your smile with cosmetic dentistry.

There are a number of commonly experienced issues that will make your smile look older:

  • Thin enamel—as enamel becomes thinner it becomes less lustrous. At the same time, more yellow dentin (the tooth layer below the enamel) is able to show through to the surface of the patient’s smile.
  • Environmental stains—richly colored foods and drinks, as well as tobacco products, will leave color deposits on your teeth. Over time stains compound so that the entire tooth looks darker than usual.
  • Damaged teeth—even the smallest cracks and chips in your enamel can affect the appearance of your smile. Additionally, these vulnerabilities in your smile can collect bacteria, and lead to more severe damage.

Our San Francisco cosmetic dentists treat these issues with state-of-the-art restorative and aesthetic dental care. You may choose to whiten your smile with professional dental whitening treatments. Or, you may want to cover unsightly or damaged enamel with fresh, luminous veneers. Other commonly employed treatments include Invisalign, dental bonding, and tooth-colored restorations. Your treatment plan is completely customizable to meet your needs.

The best way to get started is by scheduling a personal consultation with our team. Once we take a look at your smile, we will be able to give you a better idea of how you might move forward. Just remember, you don’t have to continue living with a smile that you don’t love—we are here to help!


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