Wisdom teeth are the last adult teeth to come into the mouth (erupt). Most people have four wisdom teeth at the back of the mouth — two on the top, two on the bottom. Some people have wisdom teeth that emerge without any problems and line up with the other teeth behind the second molars. In many cases, however, the mouth is too crowded for third molars to develop normally. These crowded third molars become trapped (impacted).
When do you get wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth begin to come in between the ages of 17 to 21. The first indication of wisdom teeth pushing through the gums into your mouth (erupting) is pain in the nearby teeth or around your ear. You may experience some of these signs or symptoms:
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Jaw pain
- Red or swollen gums
- Swelling around the jaw
- Bad breath
- An unpleasant taste in your mouth
- Difficulty opening your mouth
Why are wisdom teeth removed?
In some cases, impacted wisdom teeth may cause no apparent or immediate problems. Since the jaw usually does not have the space to accommodate another set of molars these teeth become trapped and can develop an infection. An impacted wisdom tooth may:
- Grow at an angle toward the back of the mouth
- Grow at an angle toward the next tooth (second molar)
- Grow at a right angle to the other teeth, as if the wisdom tooth is “lying down” within the jawbone
- Fail to break through the gums (fully impacted).
- Partially emerge so that some of the crown is visible (partially impacted)
What happens when wisdom teeth are impacted?
An impacted wisdom tooth is one that fails to break through the gum line because it is being blocked by another tooth or teeth. There is not enough room for the wisdom tooth to erupt, and this can result in great discomfort or even severe pain. Impacted wisdom teeth can also cause:
- Damage to other teeth. If the wisdom tooth pushes against the second molar, it may damage the second molar or increase the risk of infection in that area.
- The wisdom tooth develops in a sac within the jawbone. The sac can fill with fluid, forming a cyst that can damage the jawbone, teeth and nerves.
- Wisdom teeth are harder to clean and because food and bacteria get easily trapped between the gum and a partially erupted tooth. Partially impacted wisdom teeth appear to be at higher risk of tooth decay than other teeth.
- Gum disease. The difficulty cleaning impacted, partially erupted wisdom teeth increases the risk of developing a painful, inflammatory gum condition called pericoronitis in that area.
How are wisdom teeth removed?
Our dentists will examine the tooth and take x-rays to determine whether an extraction is necessary. X-rays will also show whether a standard or surgical extraction is required.
Wisdom teeth that are partially or fully impacted may require a small surgical procedure. You would receive a local anesthetic to numb the tooth and the surrounding area. A small incision will be made to expose the tooth. The connective tissue around the tooth would be loosen and the tooth removed using specialist instruments. They may also use the drill to divide the tooth into sections to avoid it breaking unpredictably during the final extraction stages.
If you have wisdom teeth that are causing pain, has developed an infection or is interfering with nearby teeth, we will recommend your wisdom teeth be removed. Dr. Kulangara offers specialized expertise in dental extractions and will walk you through the process from start to finish. Troublesome teeth need to be extracted in a timely manner to prevent painful and unwanted problems such as crowding, infection, and accelerated decay. Make the wise decision and schedule an exam today. Call 813-701-5074 today to learn more.