By age of eighteen, the typical adult has 32 teeth; 16 teeth on the top and 16 teeth at the bottom. Each tooth in the mouth has a specific name and function. The teeth in the front of the mouth (incisors, canine and bicuspid teeth) are perfect for grasping and biting food into smaller pieces.
The average mouth is made to hold only 28 teeth. It may be painful when 32 teeth try to fit in a mouth that holds only 28 teeth. These four other teeth are the Third Molars, also known as “wisdom teeth.”
There are several types, or degrees, of impaction in line with the actual depth of the teeth inside the jaw:
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Soft Tissue Impaction: The upper portion of the tooth (the crown) has penetrated through the bone, but the gingiva (gum) is covering part or all of the tooth’s crown and it has grown properly around the tooth. Because it is hard to keep the area clean, food can become trapped underneath the gum and cause contamination and/or tooth decay, resulting in pain and swelling.
Partial Bony Impaction: The tooth has partially erupted, but a portion from the crown remains submerged below the gum and surrounding jawbone. Again, since it is difficult to keep your gums clean, infection will commonly occur.
Complete Bony Impaction: Your tooth is totally encased by jawbone. This will require more complex removal techniques.[/callout]
Reasons to remove wisdom teeth
While not all wisdom teeth require removal, wisdom teeth extractions are most often performed because of an active problem, including pain, swelling, decay or infection, or as a preventative measure to avoid serious problems later on.
In most cases, inadequate space within the mouth doesn’t permit the wisdom teeth to erupt properly and be completely functional. At these times, your tooth may become impacted (stuck) within an undesirable or potentially harmful position. Left untreated, numerous potentially harmful outcomes can occur, including:
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Harm to nearby teeth: Second molars (the teeth directly in front of the wisdom teeth) can be adversely affected by impacted wisdom teeth, resulting in tooth decay (cavities), periodontal disease (gum disease) and possible bone loss.
Disease: Cysts and tumors can happen within the areas surrounding impacted wisdom teeth.
Infection: Bacteria and food can become trapped under the gum tissue, leading to contamination. The problem may cause considerable pain and danger.
Tooth Crowding: Impacted wisdom teeth can put pressure on other teeth and get them to misaligned or crowded, disrupting the orthodontic or natural tooth alignment.
Early elimination of impacted wisdom teeth is recommended to avoid future problems.
Wisdom teeth examination
As with any procedure, the oral surgeon may with to first perform a test on the wisdom and surrounding teeth. Panoramic x-rays will be done to evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and see if a current problem exists, or evaluate the probability of any potential future problems. X-rays may also expose additional risks, like deterioration or decay of nearby teeth. Early evaluation and treatment methods are recommended in order to identify potential issues and also to enhance the results if extractions are needed. Only following a thorough examination are we able to offer the best choices for you case.
What does the removal of wisdom teeth involve?
Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure, generally performed under intravenous (IV) sedation by a dental surgeon in an office outpatient surgery setting. For single or simple extractions, the process can be achieved under local anesthesia or with nitrous oxide. Surgery could be completed comfortably inside an hour, and you’ll be released with post-operative instructions and medication, to help manage any swelling or discomfort.