Wisdom teeth, or third molars, do not always erupt properly when they decide to make an appearance. It’s wise to get an early opinion from your dentist on getting wisdom teeth pulled before they become infected, causing pain, swelling, cavities or gum disease.
Why don’t wisdom teeth grow in right?
The shape of the modern human mouth is often too small to accommodate wisdom teeth which make their first appearance in young adults between the ages of 15 to 25. Over the course of time, humans learned to harness fire for cooking foods and developed blade tools to better process food before consumption. They reduced the need for strong jaws to chew food. According to studies of ancient skull specimens, over time, a full set of teeth in a smaller jaw causes crowding in permanent teeth because of lack of space. Humans are congenitally missing one or more wisdom teeth at an increasing prevalence.
What does “impacted” mean?
When wisdom teeth don’t have room to grow or they haven’t reached their final position by age 25, they are considered impacted-no place to go and no plans to grow. Third molar impaction is the most prevalent medical developmental disorder. A full set of healthy teeth sometimes doesn’t have much room for wisdom teeth to erupt.
What kind of problems can impacted third molars cause?
Partially erupted wisdom teeth are breeding grounds for bacteria and germs that may cause infection, and cysts and tumors may grow on a trapped wisdom tooth. Jaw pain and gum disease may occur. Not all wisdom teeth cause problems, however.
Can’t I just use an antibiotic?
Antibiotics only soothe infected wisdom teeth for a short time. Taking antibiotics treats the symptoms of the problem but not the source of the real problem: The tooth can’t fit in your mouth.
When if I don’t have any symptoms?
People with symptoms of impaction, such as pain, swelling and infection should have their wisdom teeth removed immediately. However, those with no symptoms can avoid the chance of ever suffering from the pain of impacted wisdom teeth or achieve better orthodontic treatment results by having them removed. Asymptomatic impacted wisdom teeth also may be removed to reduce the chance of unexplained pain, accommodate prosthetic appliances, or avoid the risks of cavities, periodontal disease, bone shrinkage, and tumor development.
How is the tooth removed?
Surgery for impacted wisdom teeth consists of moving the gum tissue to uncover the tooth, removing a small amount of bone that is locking the tooth in, removing the tooth, and sewing the gums back up. You can be sedated or simply numbed up. Prescription pain medicine will make the healing period more comfortable. The degree of post-operative discomfort corresponds to the severity if the impaction and the technique required removing it. It also depends on the individual patient’s health status and tolerance level.