So many dental patients fear being told they have impacted wisdom teeth. All they can recall are the many horror stories they grew up hearing from family and friends, or even on TV or in the movies about the horrible pain follows wisdom teeth extraction.
These feared third molars are the last set of back teeth to erupt in a mature mouth. Typically, there are four, two on the top and two on the bottom jaws behind the second molars. Some people develop three or fewer third molars or none. Wisdom teeth appear at any point between mid-puberty up into early adulthood. This final set of teeth tends to vary in size and form. A full mouth x-ray can accurately determine how many wisdom teeth are present.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
When wisdom teeth start to shift and later attempt to erupt, many problems can develop inside the mouth. If there is plenty of space and no obstacles in the way, wisdom teeth can erupt in perfectly straight formation, without incident. In cases where the patient has a small jaw, or the pathway is blocked, the wisdom tooth can become stuck. A tooth that is unable to erupt due to a blockage, is termed impacted. An impaction can be caused by other teeth, jaw bone, gums or other problems inside the jaw.
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a host of destruction to the surrounding teeth, the jaw bone, this condition can lead to jaw fracture or pathologic lesions. Depending on where the impacted teeth are stuck, it can also cause gum infections or inflammation, or decay that forms due to bacteria that gets trapped in closed in spaces between partially impacted teeth.
Wisdom Teeth Extraction
To eliminate these potentially painful issues, and to prevent misaligned wisdom teeth from erupting and causing mouth damage, wisdom teeth extraction is the best solution. It is very common for third molars to only partially emerge, or erupt sideways. Also, wisdom teeth often get trapped inside the jawbone and under the gum. Early wisdom teeth removal will lower surgical risks and eliminate budding problems.