Impacted wisdom teeth refer to the third and last molars to erupt at the back of the mouth but don’t have enough space to develop or emerge normally.
They usually come out during early adulthood or the later years of teenage life. These teeth are at a greater risk of decay, disease, and other dental complications. Approximately 5 million people have their wisdom teeth removed every year in the United States.
In this blog, we take a look at some symptoms and complications brought forth by impacted wisdom teeth.
Wisdom teeth usually appear between the ages 17 and 25. In most cases, they undergo a normal development and align with other molars. Some researchers believe that due to the creation and usage of larger, complex tools, early humans outgrew the need for an extra set of molars which resulted in less energy being needed for teeth development. Now that they are no longer needed, problems can appear during the growing stage.
Impacted wisdom teeth don’t always cause issues but when they do, symptoms include the following:
· Swelling around the jaw accompanied by pain
· Gum infections
· Tooth decay
· Bad breath
· Unpleasant Taste
· Food getting trapped behind the tooth.
Impacted wisdom teeth can be partially visible or remain hidden beneath the gums. This is because their growth occurs according to one of the following way:
· Horizontal Impaction: The most painful type. The tooth pushes horizontally into the next molar.
· Distal Impaction: The tooth is tilted toward the back of the mouth. These cases are rare.
· Vertical Impaction: The tooth is nearly vertical and might apply pressure to the underside of the next molar
· Mesial Impaction: The crown of the tooth is tilted toward the front of the mouth and pokes into the gums
According to the National Institutes of Health, dentists look for signs that indicate hidden impacted wisdom teeth. These signs include redness, swollen gums, drainage, infections, and tenderness
Extractions depend on the development stage and positioning of the impacted wisdom teeth. After conducting a thorough analysis, anesthesia is administered and the tooth is removed. If the tooth is visible, the process is fairly straightforward. But if the tooth is hidden beneath the gums then incisions are required to be made. This process is relatively complex as it might involve removing the tooth in multiple stages in order to protect the bone structure.