Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Although most people develop and grow 32 permanent adult teeth, many times their jaws are too small to accommodate the four wisdom teeth. When inadequate space prevents the wisdom teeth from erupting they are called impacted wisdom teeth. This indicates their inability to erupt into the proper position for chewing and cleaning.
Impaction is a dental term used to describe a tooth that is unable to erupt properly. Impaction can occur as a full impaction or a partial impaction. Fully impacted wisdom teeth reside completely underneath the gum tissue and are unable to break through. Partially erupted wisdom teeth are those that have partially broke through the gum tissue, but are still partially underneath the gum tissue.
Types of Wisdom Teeth Impactions
Mesial, vertical, horizontal, and distal impactions are the four types of wisdom teeth impactions. All four types of wisdom teeth impactions can be treated by extracting the affected tooth in order to relieve symptoms and preserve oral health. However, there are some cases where certain types of impactions, such as vertical and distal, may not need to be extracted.
Ultimately, an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon experienced with wisdom teeth extractions can determine what type of impaction is present and what the best course of action is.
Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
While pain, swelling, and a foul odor or taste are three telltale signs of an impacted wisdom tooth, it is important to note that not everyone experiences these same exact symptoms. Some people may never know they have impacted wisdom teeth until they receive a dental x-ray at their routine dental exam, while others may be able to notice pain or swelling as soon as their wisdom teeth begin to erupt.
Foul Odor or Taste
If you are between 17 & 25 and you begin experiencing these symptoms, it is very likely that you could have an impacted wisdom tooth.
In some cases, an impacted wisdom tooth may eventually be able to erupt properly, but in most cases dental intervention of some kind is necessary to alleviate symptoms, prevent infection, and preserve your oral health.
Wisdom Teeth: Oral Surgery and Extraction
If any of the symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth are experienced, it is essential to find an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon and determine whether the teeth should be removed.
Even if symptom-free, it can be better to remove wisdom teeth before they become a serious problem. As patients age, their wisdom teeth roots lengthen and can become entangled with the sensory nerves of the lower jaw or sinus area of the upper jaw.
If wisdom teeth later become a problem, it will be a more difficult extraction with greater potential for complications. It is impossible to predict if or when complications could occur.
Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a superior outcome for the patient.
Patients are generally first evaluated in the mid-teenage years by an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon
Schedule a Wisdom Teeth Examination
At BC Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, our Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon can perform an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, to evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there are present or may be future problems, whether your wisdom teeth are impacted, if there is room for them to erupt, and how difficult it will be to have them removed
Contact us today to arrange for a wisdom teeth examination to determine whether you may or may not require wisdom tooth removal.