When a tooth erupts, it makes its way through the jaw bone, the gums, and then appears in the mouth. In normal circumstances, there is enough space in the jaw to accommodate the newly erupting tooth. Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the back-most teeth present in the mouth.
Wisdom teeth are also the last of the adult teeth to erupt in the mouth. They commonly erupt when a person is 15 to 25 years of age. By this time, the growth of the jaw bone is almost complete, and it may not have enough space to accommodate the newly erupting wisdom tooth.
What do you mean by impacted teeth?
Inadequate space for the new teeth can prevent them from erupting, these teeth are referred to as impacted. This results in their inability to erupt in normal healthy position which allows proper cleaning and chewing.
What are the causes?
The main reason for an impacted tooth is lack of space to erupt in its ideal position in the mouth. An impacted wisdom tooth may partially emerge so that some of the crown is visible (partially impacted), or it may never break through the gums (fully impacted). Whether partially or fully impacted, the tooth may grow at an angle toward the next tooth or at an angle to the back if the mouth. Its eruption can also be prevented from growing straight up and become locked in the jaw bone.
What are the symptoms of problematic wisdom teeth?
Impacted wisdom teeth may not always show symptoms. However, when one becomes infected, it can be troublesome and can damage other teeth as well. You may experience one or more symptoms like redness and swelling of gums, pain in the area of the impacted tooth, or painful and bleeding gums. The jaw may become swollen on the affected side and you may experience difficulty with chewing food, talking and opening the mouth. You may also experience bad breath and an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
Can impacted teeth cause Complications?
Impacted wisdom teeth have the potential for causing numerous problems like:
- Gingivitis (Gum Disease) : When a tooth is impacted or partially erupted, the area becomes difficult to clean. This leads to accumulation of food particles and harboring of bacteria. As a result, a painful inflammatory condition of gums known as pericoronitis develops.
- Tooth Decay : Impacted wisdom teeth are at a greater risk of developing tooth decay than normal teeth. This mainly happens due to the lack of cleaning ability in the area of the impacted tooth, as the toothbrush bristles cannot reach properly. This further causes food particles and bacteria to accumulate resulting into tooth decay.
- Damage to neighboring teeth and crowding : If the wisdom tooth pushes against the second molar, it may damage the second molar or increase the risk of infection in that area. This pressure can also cause problems of crowding with other teeth or require orthodontic treatment to straighten other teeth.
- Cyst formation : The wisdom tooth develops in a sac within the jawbone. The sac can become filled with fluid, forming a cyst that can damage the jawbone, teeth and nerves. A tumor, usually a non- cancerous one, can develop. Although, it is quite a rare condition. This complication may require removal of surrounding tissue and bone.
Can this condition be prevented?
Unfortunately, you cannot prevent an impaction. However, by keeping regular six-month dental appointments, you can keep its complications at bay. Regular dental check-ups can enable your dentist to monitor the growth and emergence of your wisdom teeth. Regularly updated dental X-rays can also indicate impacted wisdom teeth before any symptoms develop.
Removal of the tooth is the line of treatment for problematic wisdom teeth. It is a minor surgical procedure done under local anesthesia and is completely painless. Prior to the surgery, your oral surgeon will ask for some x-rays and blood tests. The procedure will require 30 to 45 minutes approximately. It is done on outpatient basis and the patients go home immediately.
If you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it is best to get checked by an oral surgery specialist. An oral surgeon will guide you through the surgical procedure.
If you are experiencing pain with wisdom teeth and are looking to get it fixed, you can request an appointment at Harbour Pointe Oral Surgery & Advanced Dental Implant Center. We have a highly skilled and experienced dental team at hand, which will guide you through the entire procedure. For more information visit https://www.harbourpointeoralsurgery.net/. You can book an appointment https://www.harbourpointeoralsurgery.net/contact-us/