Wisdom teeth, or the third molars in the back of the mouth, are the last of your teeth to erupt. Healthy wisdom teeth erupt normally, coming through the gums straight and aligned, but that is not always the case. Wisdom teeth can become misaligned during the eruption process, causing them to grow out crooked, or not erupt at all. Impacted wisdom teeth can result in a number of dental issues.
What Are the Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
In some cases, it is easy to spot impacted wisdom teeth because there is discomfort at the site or radiating through the jaw. In some cases, impacted wisdom teeth do not cause painful reactions, but they still have a greater risk of developing dental diseases than your other teeth.
Your gums can become irritated, resulting in redness and swelling, and sometimes bleeding. You may find that your jaw aches, even on the sides where other wisdom teeth are not impacted. The areas around impacted wisdom teeth in the jaw may also swell, which can cause difficulty when you try to open and close your mouth.
Foul breath and an unpleasant odour in your mouth can also arise as a result of infection because of your impacted wisdom teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth are challenging to maintain and can sometimes only be effectively cleaned by your dentist.
What Can Impacted Wisdom Teeth Cause?
Wisdom teeth that have developed abnormally can either be partially or completely impacted. Partially impacted wisdom teeth protrude from the gums but do not erupt and grow out completely. Completely impacted wisdom teeth do not break through the gums at all.
When wisdom teeth are impacted, they can shift inside the gum and grow in the wrong direction. In severe cases, the impacted wisdom tooth can grow in at a ninety-degree angle.
Wisdom teeth can also become impacted when they grow straight but remain trapped in the jawbone, unable to grow out into the gums and eventually erupt.
You are most at risk of having impacted wisdom teeth if you are 17-25 years old, which is the timeframe when your wisdom teeth typically come in.
If you have a small jawbone, you are also potentially at greater risk of developing impacted wisdom teeth that will need to be removed.
Dental Issues Caused by Impacted Wisdom Teeth
The most common problem as a result of severely impacted wisdom teeth is damage to other teeth. When an impacted wisdom tooth starts to grow at an abnormal angle, it can push against the second molar and potentially damage that tooth.
Collisions like these damage the teeth and can cause an infection. Pressure from the impacted wisdom tooth on the second molar can also transfer into other teeth. This causes overcrowding in the mouth and can result in crooked teeth and discomfort.
If infection sets in on the area surrounding the impacted wisdom tooth, cysts can form. The sac where the wisdom teeth develop inside the jawbone creates a cyst that can damage the teeth, jawbone, and nerves. In very rare cases, a benign tumour may develop, which causes further damage as the tumour grows and displaces other teeth.
Impacted wisdom teeth are at a higher risk of tooth decay than the other teeth in your mouth. This is because they are harder to clean, and food is more easily lodged between a partially impacted tooth and the gums. The painful gum inflammation pericoronitis can also develop if the partially impacted wisdom tooth cannot receive the necessary cleaning.
You cannot control whether your wisdom teeth become impacted, but you can take steps to ensure that you are keeping the area clean, or to get them extracted. Keeping up with your regular dental appointments is the best way to monitor impacted wisdom teeth and find out when complications arise before they become serious issues. Professional cleanings will also lessen the risk of decay and disease occurring.
An impacted wisdom tooth or teeth can be removed completely if they are causing problems that cannot be ignored. If you are feeling particularly anxious about wisdom teeth extraction, LV Dental offers conscious sedation to help you relax through the procedure without discomfort.
Extraction is completed in just one visit, and we will place sutures at the extraction site to help heal the area. You will go home with a prescription for some pain medications and return in 7-10 days for an assessment and suture removal. After your sutures are removed, you can resume brushing and flossing as usual, but this time without the added worry of impacted wisdom teeth.
If you are experiencing trouble with impacted wisdom teeth, don’t wait to resolve the problem. Visit LV Dental in Cabramatta for your dental needs. You can find our information and booking schedule online or give us a call on (02) 9158 6373.