Everyone knows what wisdom teeth are. But not everyone understands what happens when they become impacted, or why they do. We’ll help you understand this problem and its best solution.
Wisdom teeth are the last to come in – usually arriving at the beginning of adulthood – hence, the name “wisdom” teeth. When a wisdom tooth is “impacted,” it means they are being blocked from coming in fully. Most people lack sufficient space for these teeth to erupt (break through the gums) normally. Wedged into the back of the jaw, they often come in at an angle, pressing against the second molars. Teeth can even develop horizontally, meaning they will never be able to erupt at all. They can interfere with the nerve passing below the roots of the molars and cause the second molar’s root to deteriorate. The areas around these misplaced teeth can also develop cysts or tumors that damage the jawbone itself.
The Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Impacted wisdom teeth can result in many problematic symptoms:
- Red, swollen, bleeding gums in the area
- Jaw pain and swelling
- Difficulty opening the mouth
- Infections in the area accompanied by pain, fever or difficulty swallowing
When there’s an infection or swelling, normal treatment is less likely to work because the infected areas are out of reach – they are below the gum or even embedded in the jawbone.
Oddly, it’s possible that a wisdom tooth may be positioned abnormally but cause no symptoms at all. There can be still be damage to nerves, other teeth and the jawbone. Only a dentist, aided by x-rays, can diagnose this problem.
Why Don’t Wisdom Teeth Come in Normally?
No one knows for sure why wisdom teeth don’t fit as well as other teeth. However, the theory is that many thousands of years ago, long before man began cultivating crops, primitive men were eating rough diets of leaves, roots and nuts. Their jawbones were heavier and larger because of all the stresses of chewing these foods. When man began cultivating foods, he also began to develop less tough and woody crops. Over thousands of years, man’s jawbone has become smaller because it is not subjected to the same kinds of stress. The body’s innate intelligence was not as fast to remove these third molars. And so most people have problems with these teeth for which there is insufficient room.
There are a few people who never get wisdom teeth. But 85% of us will need a dental intervention to remove one or more of these teeth.
Who is the Right Practitioner to Remove Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
When one of these teeth is wedged in a jaw, removing it is a complicated surgical procedure. Care must be taken not to damage adjacent teeth, the jawbone or the nerve that passes right below the roots of molars.
To get the tooth out, it’s possible that some bone covering the wisdom tooth may need to be removed first. The tissue connecting the tooth to the jawbone must also be carefully detached. Because of this complexity, this extraction is best performed by an oral and facial surgeon.
When the surgery is performed expertly by a dental practitioner with specialized training, there is less pain and bleeding and a smaller chance of infection. These are very good reasons for choosing the best oral and facial surgeon for a wisdom tooth extraction.
The surgical extraction of teeth is one of Dr. Virginia Lee’s specialties. She has devoted extensive time and training to becoming your very best choice for this complicated procedure. Here’s how smoothly this procedure can go when you choose Capital Oral & Facial Surgery Center for your care: “The procedure took my only about an hour and a half. I went home and slept for about two hours and after that I felt fine. My jaws were a bit sore, but the pain never even got bad enough for me to need the pain medication.”
If you are diagnosed with impacted wisdom teeth, contact Capital Oral & Facial Surgery Center immediately for a consultation or ask your general dentist for a referral to our office.