Impacted Wisdom Teeth & Why You Should Remove Them
When it comes to wisdom teeth, a common misconception is that if they aren’t causing you any pain there’s no need to have them removed. But impacted wisdom teeth can have consequences and foster trouble long before you notice any discomfort.
Consider wisdom teeth removal to be a preventative measure, and consult an experienced dentist or oral surgeon to determine the best course of action for your mouth.
What are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
Impacted is the medical term for “stuck.” When your wisdom teeth are impacted they are trapped in your jawbone, unable to break through and into your mouth.
Impacted wisdom teeth may or may not cause pain – but left untreated, they can potentially lead to a number of future oral health concerns.
No Better Time Than Now
Impacted wisdom teeth are generally removed in a patient’s late teens or early twenties as molar removal becomes more difficult with age.
Over time our jawbones harden. Performing the procedure on older patients can mean unwanted side effects.
Mouth Too Small
A common cause for impacted wisdom teeth and their subsequent removal is a small mouth.
If your jaw and gums don’t have room for an additional set of teeth the extra molars could push and shift your other teeth out of alignment, causing bite issues and potential damage to other teeth.
A crowded mouth is a legitimate concern and one best prevented by clearing space before wisdom teeth attempt to push through. The angle of impacted molars shown in X-rays helps your dentist or oral surgeon determine whether or not your mouth has room for more teeth.
Removal is also required when any of the following conditions are present:
- Sinus problems: Issues with wisdom teeth can lead to congestion, sinus pressure and pain.
- Gum Inflammation: Swollen tissue surrounding impacted or erupted wisdom teeth can often only be treated by tooth removal. Over time, distended gums can form pockets between teeth that are susceptible to bacterial growth and cavities.
- Cysts: Cyst growth around new teeth can hollow the jaw bone and lead to nerve damage.
If I Can’t See My Wisdom Teeth Does That Mean They’re Impacted?
Not necessarily. Not everyone grows wisdom teeth, so if you don’t have any they can’t be impacted!
Is Removal Painful?
Every patient’s experience will be different but for several days following the procedure. Pain killers will be prescribed to help manage discomfort.
Removing impacted wisdom teeth requires general anesthesia so patients feel nothing during the surgery.