Impacted Wisdom Teeth
We have a love-hate relationship with wisdom teeth (the third molar teeth); their emergence often coincides with a transitory period in our life as we move from our teenage years to adulthood. Often, wisdom teeth fail to emerge properly, often because of a lack of space or because they grow at odd angles - all of which can cause complications. Dentists have a special, and befitting term for wisdom teeth that struggle to emerge properly and stay within the confines of the gums: impacted wisdom teeth. If left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth have the potential to cause damage to surrounding teeth and gums. There is a large interindividual variability in the symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth. Some patients won't feel any pain or discomfort, while others may have symptoms requiring urgent attention. Impacted wisdom teeth are bad from the standpoint of oral hygiene. For one, they make it exceptionally more challenging to clean the very back of the mouth because the area can be very sensitive to the touch. Secondly, impacted wisdom teeth are very adept at trapping food particles. The difficulty of oral hygiene coupled with a rich food source allows bacteria to thrive, which can cause infections, bad breath, and pain. Some find it difficult to open their mouth because of the sheer pain.
The Primary Cause of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
In most cases, wisdom teeth are impacted because the patient's jaw simply doesn't have enough space for the third molars to emerge. It is also possible for these teeth to grow at odd angles, which can cause them to become impacted. Patients with small jaw structures who are between the ages of 18 and 25 are more likely to have impacted wisdom teeth. Although there is no way to prevent impacted wisdom teeth because the issue is related to genetically predetermined factors, patients can exercise good dental hygiene to avoid potential problems. We recommend regular biannual visits to a reputable dental practice such as Geelan Dental Care where experts like Aron Geelan, DMD and will strive to give you the best possible care.
Treating Impacted Wisdom Teeth Requires Sedation Dentistry
The good news is that impacted wisdom teeth are relatively easy to treat under local anesthesia to numb the mouth for restorative tooth extraction. The oral surgeon will then make a cut into your gums and extract the wisdom tooth. Stitches will be used to close the incision. The entire process only takes about an hour. Note that if your teeth are buried deep within your jawbone, it may be harder for the dentist to remove them. This will take just a bit longer to fix. You will have to follow your post-op instructions to allow for healing. After surgery, it is common to experience minor pain, swelling, and bleeding. Make sure to follow your dentist's instructions, including any medications and do cold compresses. In some cases, impacted wisdom teeth don't cause issues, and you may not have to take any further action. However, we strongly recommend consulting with our dentists to monitor your issue and take the right course of action. Contact (971) 323-1990 to learn more.