Wisdom teeth are often called the third molars. They become problematic when they become impacted. When impacted, wisdom teeth -- which are at the back of the mouth – do not have enough room to emerge or develop normally.
Some Wisdom Teeth Background
Wisdom teeth are believed to be "evolutionary relics," and were helpful to our distant ancestors who ate diets that consisted of rougher foods like sticks and reed plants. As teeth wore down or fell out, wisdom teeth provided replacements. Nowadays, with modern advancements in oral hygiene and softer diets, we don’t need these replacement teeth, but they still grow in. Essentially, our mouths can hold 28 teeth, but including wisdom teeth, we have about 32 teeth all vying for space. Wisdom teeth symptoms such as overcrowding, bone and nerve damage, infection, etc. can all result.
Wisdom teeth could be as useful as any of your other teeth, but because they are in the very back of the mouth, they often don't have enough room to grow in. It's not unusual for wisdom teeth to be positioned crooked or sideways in the jaw, keeping them from erupting into the mouth properly. They are also the final teeth to erupt; they usually appear when a person is in their late teens or early twenties.
Impacted wisdom teeth are a state in which the jaw bone or neighbouring teeth block the teeth from erupting. They become trapped in place as their roots continue to elongate, and the longer they remain impacted, the more likely they are to cause problems for your oral and general health.
The Problems Caused By Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Impacted wisdom teeth are prone to developing cysts (pockets of fluid) around them, which can damage the tooth and surrounding tissues, including bone. In rare cases, tumours can form around these cysts, complicating wisdom teeth extraction. The longer you hold off on seeking wisdom tooth pain relief, the more likely it is that you will require a more invasive surgical extraction procedure, or that the problematic teeth will permanently damage surrounding tissues.
It is also possible for your wisdom teeth to partially emerge from underneath the gums. In this position, it's relatively easy for bacteria to enter through the opening around the tooth. By not seeking wisdom tooth pain relief, it's more likely that you will experience infection. Infection will result in increased wisdom tooth pain, redness, swelling, jaw pain, stiffness and general illness. It is very easy for oral infections to enter the bloodstream and affect the entire body.
What To Do About Problem Wisdom Teeth
The most common treatment for problematic wisdom teeth symptoms is the extraction of the teeth. Wisdom teeth extraction is generally done at a dentist’s or oral surgeon’s office under local or general anaesthesia. These options and any complications will be discussed before the extraction procedure. If your wisdom teeth have already erupted through the surface of the gums, they can be removed relatively easily as if they were any other tooth. Impacted wisdom teeth can be a little more complicated to remove, however. An incision is made through the surface of the gum above the tooth. After that, any bone covering the tooth needs to be removed. Then the tooth itself is extracted; sometimes, your dentist or surgeon will need to cut the tooth into several pieces to salvage as much bone as possible and avoid unnecessarily cutting bone or risking nerves and delicate tissues. Wisdom teeth extraction is a common procedure and is likely the best solution to relieve your wisdom teeth symptoms.
A Final Word On Wisdom Teeth
While you can't prevent an impaction from occurring, you can keep your regular six-month dental appointments with us for cleaning and check-ups. This enables us to monitor the growth and emergence of your wisdom teeth. Regularly updated dental X-rays may indicate impacted wisdom teeth before any symptoms develop.
Today, we are often are proactive and seek to remove wisdom teeth in anticipation of the many dangers and discomfort they may pose later. That is why it is important to talk to us-- the dental professionals at Forest & Ray-- to get advice and guidance on what is the best course of action for your teeth. Our state-of-the-art clinic is conveniently located in the heart of London and can serve all your dental needs. Contact us today for an appointment!