Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Around the age of 20 years old, the majority of young adults have their wisdom teeth removed. For most, the wisdom teeth extraction procedure is straight forward and can be performed in just over an hour. For some, their wisdom teeth may be a little more difficult to remove. You may be wondering why we need to have wisdom teeth removed at all? And why is the procedure more complicated for some than it is for others? Here is more information about the wisdom teeth extraction procedure and what can make it more complicated for some patients.

Why is Extraction Necessary?

Wisdom teeth are the last set of adult molars to come in sometime between the ages of 17 and 25. Due to this timing, there usually isn’t enough space in the mouth for the wisdom teeth to fit. Without room to grow into, wisdom teeth can cause complications such as overcrowding, shifting, or more serious issues. All of these possible complications are why dentists usually recommend patients have wisdom teeth removed shortly after they start to come in.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

One of the things that can make the extraction procedure more complicated is when the wisdom teeth are impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth are trapped below the gum under tissue or bone. Sometimes, there are no immediate issues with impacted wisdom teeth, but over time the impacted teeth can result in complications. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain and issues with nearby teeth. Issues with impacted wisdom teeth include:

  • Growing at an angle toward and causing damage to nearby teeth
  • Growing at an angle toward the back of the mouth
  • Growing at a right angle trapped within the jawbone which may result in infection
  • Trapped within the jawbone which may result in infection

Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

If you are concerned your wisdom teeth may be impacted, you may be able to identify this with some common symptoms. Here are some signs and or symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth:

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums near the molars
  • Pain in the jaw
  • Swelling around the jaw
  • Bad breath or an unpleasant taste in your mouth that won’t go away
  • Difficulty opening your mouth

Complications of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

If you think you may have wisdom teeth that are impacted it is important that you schedule a visit to your dentist soon. Not all impacted teeth result in pain, and impacted teeth can cause damage and complications that you may not be aware of including:

  • Damage to nearby teeth. If the wisdom tooth is pushing against the nearby teeth it can cause damage or increase risk of infection.
  • An impacted wisdom tooth may still be stuck in the sac it is growing in within the jawbone. If the tooth does not break through the tissue, the sac can fill with fluid and form a cyst.
  • Decay and gum disease. Wisdom teeth that are partially impacted or partially through the skin, can be hard to brush and keep clean. Teeth that aren’t kept clean can decay quickly and cause gum disease.
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