Wisdom teeth, or third molars, typically emerge in the late teens or early twenties. These teeth, located at the back of your mouth, were historically associated with wisdom and maturity due to their appearance at a more mature age.
However, wisdom teeth often bring not knowledge but a host of dental issues. When wisdom teeth don’t emerge properly, they become impacted. This condition can lead to a range of problems, making it crucial not to delay addressing them. When you are dealing with pain from impacted wisdom teeth, you have to find a solution immediately.
What Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
Impacted wisdom teeth are third molars that do not grow out correctly or remain fully submerged in the jawbone or gum tissue. This impaction occurs when there isn’t enough space in the jaw for the teeth to emerge naturally, causing them to grow at odd angles or even become trapped beneath the gum line.
Causes of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
The primary reasons for impacted wisdom teeth are:
- Lack of Space: One of the most common causes is insufficient space in the jaw to accommodate these new molars. The human jaw has evolved over time and is often not large enough to accommodate the emergence of these additional teeth.
- Angled Growth: Wisdom teeth may grow at an angle due to limited space. They can tilt towards the back of the mouth or even turn sideways. This angling makes it impossible for them to emerge properly.
- Late Arrival: Wisdom teeth tend to erupt after other teeth are in place, often leaving them with limited space to grow. By the time they appear, the mouth might be already crowded, leading to impaction.
Consequences of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Impacted wisdom teeth can result in various dental issues and complications if not addressed promptly. These consequences include:
- Pain: Impacted wisdom teeth often cause pain and discomfort. This can range from mild discomfort to intense, throbbing pain, making it difficult to eat or speak.
- Infection: The gum tissue covering impacted wisdom teeth can become infected, leading to a condition called pericoronitis. Symptoms include swelling, pain, and even difficulty opening the mouth.
- Tooth Decay: Wisdom teeth are located in a hard-to-reach area, making proper cleaning and maintenance challenging. This can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, affecting not only the wisdom teeth but neighboring teeth as well.
- Cysts and Tumors: In some cases, fluid-filled sacs or cysts can develop around impacted wisdom teeth. These cysts can cause damage to the jawbone and surrounding teeth.
- Crowding: Impacted wisdom teeth can push against neighboring teeth, causing crowding and misalignment in your dental arch.
- Damage to Adjacent Teeth: Angled or misaligned wisdom teeth can put excessive pressure on adjacent teeth, leading to damage or even fracture.
How Is It Diagnosed?
When you experience discomfort or suspect problems with your wisdom teeth, seeking a professional diagnosis and evaluation is essential. This step is critical in determining the presence and extent of impacted wisdom teeth. A crucial first step is a comprehensive dental examination by your dentist. They will assess your overall oral health and discuss any symptoms or concerns you may have regarding your wisdom teeth. To get a precise view of your wisdom teeth, your dentist may recommend X-rays. These imaging techniques reveal the exact positioning of your wisdom teeth, their growth pattern, and whether they are impacted or not.
The treatment for impacted wisdom teeth typically involves extraction. The dental professional will recommend the best approach based on the degree of impaction and your specific condition:
- Simple Extraction: If the wisdom tooth has partially emerged and is visible in the mouth, a simple extraction can be performed. This removal is similar to the extraction of any other tooth.
- Surgical Extraction: A surgical extraction is necessary for fully impacted wisdom teeth that have not emerged through the gum line. An oral surgeon usually performs this procedure. It involves making a small incision in the gum to access the tooth and, if required, dividing it into smaller sections for easier removal.
- Preventive Extraction: In some cases, dentists recommend removing wisdom teeth even before they cause problems. This proactive approach is often taken when X-rays show a high likelihood of impaction or when the mouth lacks sufficient space for these teeth to emerge.
Why You Shouldn’t Delay With Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Timely action is paramount when dealing with impacted wisdom teeth. Ignoring the issue or delaying treatment can lead to worsening pain and complications. Moreover, treating impacted wisdom teeth promptly can help prevent long-term oral health problems and alleviate discomfort.
Taking immediate action is crucial:
- Preventing Complications: Early intervention can help prevent complications like infections, cysts, and damage to neighboring teeth. Addressing the issue before it escalates can save you from more extensive dental procedures.
- Relieving Pain from Impacted Wisdom Teeth: Wisdom tooth pain can be excruciating. Swift treatment can alleviate this discomfort, allowing you to resume your daily activities without constant pain.
- Protecting Oral Health: Impacted wisdom teeth can impact your overall oral health. By promptly addressing the issue, you can maintain the health and alignment of your teeth and gums.
Prevention and Early Detection
Early action is crucial when you don’t want to suffer pain from impacted wisdom teeth. Maintain a schedule of regular dental check-ups, ideally every six months. These appointments are essential for early detection and monitoring of your wisdom teeth. Your dentist can track their development and identify potential problems.
Treating Impacted Wisdom Teeth with Definitive Dental
Living with pain from impacted wisdom teeth can be challenging, especially when it’s making you unable to enjoy the things you once loved. At Definitive Dental, with our pain-free guarantee, you can find the resolution for your impacted wisdom teeth in a way that brings no discomfort. Our expert team is always available to cater to your individual needs and find a solution that helps you find long-term relief. Contact us today for a consultation.