Wisdom teeth usually erupt between the ages of 17 and 25. They should be used similarly to other molars, but due to their position, there often isn’t enough room to accommodate them. Although some wisdom teeth can grow in without any issues or complications, most of my patients experience crowding, pain and discomfort. Wisdom teeth removal is a very common dental procedure, especially in older teens and young adults who are about to start orthodontic treatments or Invisalign.
Impacted wisdom teeth do not fully erupt. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause discomfort, pain, swelling and even serious complications for your overall dental health.
How do wisdom teeth become impacted?
Wisdom teeth can become impacted due to a lack of space, or when a tooth is not angled correctly for the eruption. It’s not even uncommon for the tooth to be sitting sideways or pushed right up against your other teeth roots.
Impacted wisdom teeth are not always fully impacted and hidden beneath the gum line. Some patients have partially impacted wisdom teeth where the crown or other tooth surface is visible above the gum tissue. This is where I see many many patients with holes in their wisdom teeth as it is very difficult to brush or floss, and in some cases the tooth is hidden away.
Are there any common symptoms linked to impacted wisdom teeth?
Patients experience common symptoms, including:
- Red, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums
- Jaw discomfort
- Swelling around the jaw
- Bad breath
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Difficulties opening the mouth fully
Keep in mind that you may still have one or more impacted wisdom teeth even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms. Some patients have asymptomatic wisdom teeth and experience no symptoms at all.
What can impacted wisdom teeth cause?
Impacted wisdom teeth are a serious issue and can cause more than just pain or discomfort on your behalf.
Damage to your other teeth
As impacted wisdom teeth try to erupt, they may push against the second molar, damaging the tooth’s surface and increasing the risk of infection in the immediate area.
The pressure from this push could also negate any previous orthodontic treatments, requiring another round of braces or clear aligners to shift your teeth back to the correct position.
Cysts and tumours
When impacted, wisdom teeth develop in a sac within the jawbone. This sac can fill with fluid, resulting in a cyst that could damage the jawbone, teeth, and nearby nerves.
In rare cases, the cyst can also develop into a tumour. Although the tumours in most cases are benign (noncancerous), you may still need to get some tissue and bone removed.
Decay and gum disease
Due to their tricky position and partially hidden surfaces, it can be challenging to clean impacted wisdom teeth properly, even with an excellent dental hygiene routine.
This makes them more vulnerable to decay and gum disease compared to your other teeth.
Can I prevent impacted wisdom teeth from forming?
No. The process occurs naturally. Unfortunately, some people’s wisdom teeth just develop sideways or crooked in the jaw.
However, I always recommend keeping up with your semi-annual dental checkups and X-rays. During these appointments, I check how your teeth are developing and can identify impacted wisdom teeth before the first symptoms even occur.
How are impacted wisdom teeth removed?
When you come in for your extraction, I perform X-rays first to locate your impacted teeth and assess your mouth. Next, I ask you some questions about your dental and general health.
There are two kinds of extractions: Simple and complex. Simple extractions are done to visible teeth that have fully erupted and are not blocked by other teeth or at an angle.
Complex extractions require an incision into the gums and sectioning the tooth into in order to remove it safely. This is done on teeth that are impacted, broken, partially-impacted, or just below the surface of your gums. Impacted wisdom teeth require an incision and a complex extraction.
If I determine you have impacted wisdom teeth to be removed, the procedure continues as follows:
- I administer local anaesthetic to numb the affected area.
- I create an incision in the gum tissue to reach the impacted tooth.
- I remove the tooth from the socket completely, using dental instruments.
- I close the incision in the gum tissue with stitches.
Following the procedure, I ask you to bite down on a bit of clean gauze to stop any bleeding. Before you head home, I provide you with detailed care instructions and a prescription for pain relievers to help manage any discomfort and swelling.
Impacted wisdom teeth extraction in Wolli Creek
Due to my years of experience with wisdom teeth extractions, I can safely and efficiently remove your troublesome wisdom teeth while ensuring you are comfortable. If you require sedation this can also be organised and our staff physician Dr Bao will go over the options with you.
If you believe you may have impacted wisdom teeth or are experiencing any symptoms, please contact the team at Tooth Crusader by calling on (02) 8097 1838.