It is not necessary to have your wisdom teeth removed if your jaw is large enough for a third set of molars. Most people do not have a jaw large enough so, in most cases, wisdom teeth are removed. If your wisdom teeth are impacted or crowding the second set of molars we recommend that they are removed. To better inform you, let’s cover what impacted wisdom teeth are.
Wisdom teeth that are prevented or blocked from growing properly are called impacted wisdom teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth tend to stay below the surface of your gums and grow in slightly horizontal due to the lack of available space in the jaw. In some cases, wisdom teeth grow sideways and can occasionally grow towards another tooth. This can be painful and allow for bacteria to accumulate and possibly cause infection. This is why we tend to remove wisdom teeth more frequently than not.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the upper and lower third molars, located at the very back of the mouth. They are called wisdom teeth because usually, they come in between ages 17 and 21-when a person is old enough to have gained some wisdom.
Types Of Impaction
Wisdom teeth are the molars in the very back of the mouth, which usually emerge later in life. In many cases, however, the wisdom teeth become impacted. Having impacted wisdom teeth means the teeth fail to emerge properly because of a lack of room in the mouth. Here are some of the most common types of impaction:
- In some instances, the tooth makes it through the jawbone but is partially covered by the gums, which is a condition known as soft tissue impaction.
- Partial bony impaction occurs when a portion of the tooth remains within the bone of the jaw. Complete bony impaction is when the tooth remains fully in the bone.
It the dentist’s job to evaluate and determine the course of treatment for impacted wisdom teeth. In many cases, doctors will recommend removing the wisdom teeth, even if problems have not yet occurred.
If Your Wisdom Teeth Don’t Hurt
If your wisdom teeth don’t hurt, we still recommend you come in and have them checked. Sometimes lack of pain is not an indicator of properly growing wisdom teeth. If we take a look and don’t see any issues then it is most likely safe to keep your wisdom teeth and all the wisdom that comes with them.
What Causes Problems With Wisdom Teeth?
- Your wisdom teeth break through your gums only partway because of a lack of space. This can cause a flap of gum tissue to grow over them. The flap can trap food and lead to a gum infection.
- They come in crooked or facing the wrong direction.
- Your jaw isn’t large enough to give them room. Your wisdom teeth may get stuck (impacted) in your jaw and not be able to break through your gums.
- They are so far back in your mouth or crowded that you have trouble cleaning around them.
- A cyst forms. This can damage the bone or roots.
What Are The Symptoms?
If your wisdom teeth are causing problems, you may experience symptoms such as:
- Pain or jaw stiffness near an impacted tooth.
- Pain or irritation from a tooth coming in at an awkward angle and rubbing against your cheek, tongue, or top or bottom of your mouth.
- An infected swelling in the flap of gum tissue that has formed on top of an impacted tooth that has broken part way through the gum.
- Crowding of other teeth.
- Tooth decay or gum disease if there isn’t enough room to properly clean your wisdom tooth and nearby teeth.
Most problems with wisdom teeth affect people between the ages of 15 and 25. People older than 30 usually don’t have problems that require their wisdom teeth to be removed.
Diagnosing Problems With Wisdom Teeth
Your dentist will check for signs of a wisdom tooth coming through your gum or crowding other teeth. You will have X-rays to find out if your wisdom teeth are causing problems now or are likely to cause problems in the future.
Treatment For Wisdom Teeth Problems
Wisdom teeth that cause problems should be removed, or extracted. This can be done by a dentist or an oral surgeon.
The dentist or surgeon will open the gum tissue over the tooth if needed and remove the tooth. Sometimes a tooth will be cut into smaller pieces to make it easier to take out. After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches.
If you have an infection, you may need to wait until it is gone before you have your wisdom teeth removed. The dentist or surgeon may prescribe antibiotics to help clear up the infection.
While you wait to have the teeth removed, you can take steps to reduce pain and swelling.
- Put an ice pack on your cheek for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Do not use heat.
- Rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water every 2 to 3 hours. To make your own salt water, mix 1 tsp (5 g) of salt in a cup [8 fl oz (240 mL)] of warm water.
- Try an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Carefully read and follow the directions. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20 because of the risk of Reye syndrome, a rare but serious disease.
When Do You Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed
Wisdom teeth tend to come in whenever they please. There is really no age in life when your wisdom teeth come in. Wisdom teeth can come in when you are a teenager all the way into adulthood. Everyone is different.
Is Removing Your Wisdom Teeth Painful
The procedure is painless. With the proper anesthesia, your experience should pain-free. There will be the feeling of pressure or pushing but no sharp pain. If for any reason you are uncomfortable during the procedure you can tell us and we will do everything we can to make you more comfortable.
No Wisdom Teeth
Some people don’t have wisdom teeth. This is nothing to worry about. Just one of those things.
Difficulty Eating After Your Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Sometimes eating is difficult after your wisdom teeth have been extracted. Soft foods are the easiest. We have a list of some foods that are easy to eat after having your wisdom teeth removed:
- Mashed potatoes
- Scrambled Eggs
At Eagle Rock Dental Care we routinely perform wisdom teeth extractions at all of our locations. If you are not sure if you need to have your wisdom teeth removed, come in, call us, or make an appointment online. We would be happy to let you know about your wisdom teeth.