Wisdom teeth are the third and last set of molars to erupt and generally appear between the ages of 18 and 25. When wisdom teeth grow correctly, they can support the back teeth and help with chewing. However, this is not always the case. Wisdom teeth can often be problematic and cause severe pain. This may require a tooth extraction.
Is there enough space for wisdom teeth to grow?
The average mouth can usually accommodate only 28 teeth. When wisdom teeth grow in, they often do not have enough space. They can grow in a variety of angles, also known as being impacted. This may cause crowding of teeth.
How can I check if I have impacted wisdom teeth?The best way to find out if you have impacted wisdom teeth is to visit your dentist for an examination. If the wisdom teeth are not visible, your dentist will take an X-ray to check their position.
A specialised X-ray called an OPG X-ray (orthopantomogram) is generally the preferred approach. This gives the dentist a panoramic view of your mouth, including all your teeth, upper and lower jaw, and surrounding structures all in one shot. Dentists can then determine if there is enough space for wisdom teeth to grow in without causing problems.
Wisdom teeth can either be fully or partially impacted. A fully impacted wisdom tooth is one that remains under the gum tissue and has not broken through. In contrast, a partially impacted wisdom tooth has partly broken through the gum surface but remains mainly under the gum tissue. This can cause a flap of gum tissue to grow.
How can wisdom teeth cause problems?
When problematic wisdom teeth are left untreated, they can cause pain, swelling, jaw stiffness, and severe dental problems. Impacted wisdom teeth that only partially erupted are challenging to keep clean. This is a risk because food and bacteria can collect around them. Bacterial build-up may lead to cavities, damage to adjacent teeth, infection, or gum disease.
If your wisdom teeth are causing problems, consult with our dentist as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatmeqnt can help prevent serious complications.
What does the procedure involve?
If your wisdom tooth is impacted and causing problems, you will likely need to have it removed. Wisdom tooth extraction is a standard procedure generally done under local anaesthesia, numbing the area around your mouth. Your dentist may also provide sedation options to help you relax. To remove the wisdom tooth, your dentist will make a small incision into your gum and bone tissues to expose the tooth. After removal, the area will then be stitched closed.
What to expect after a wisdom tooth extraction?
In most cases, wisdom tooth extraction is a fairly straightforward procedure; however, as with any surgery, there are always risks involved. The risks include:
- Damage to nerves or surrounding teeth
After the procedure, you will need to rest and recover at home. You may experience some swelling and pain, nevertheless, pain-relief medication can help. It is essential to follow your dentist’s instructions for caring for your mouth after surgery. You may have to eat soft foods, avoid alcohol and not smoke.
Finding a reputable and trusted dentist is essential when considering a wisdom tooth extraction. An experienced professional will perform the extraction, causing minimal discomfort, and helping to avoid any future complications.