There are many questions surrounding wisdom teeth and if they should be removed. A wisdom tooth is the third molar tooth at the back of the mouth. It is known as an impacted wisdom tooth if it has not fully erupted into the oral cavity. Most people will have four wisdom teeth. They are generally the last teeth to break through the gums. A tooth may become impacted due to an abnormal position of the wisdom tooth, insufficient space in the dental cavity, an abnormal growth, like a cyst and other factors.
A fully impacted wisdom tooth is when the entire tooth is submerged under the bone and gums. The impacted tooth may be at an angle to the neighboring tooth. A wisdom tooth can also be partially impacted; this occurs when the tooth is slightly erupted with only some of the tooth visible.
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause oral health problems if gone untreated. Wisdom teeth can cause the following complications:
- Tooth decay
- Damage to adjacent teeth
- Gum disease
- Bone loss
- Crowding of the teeth
Impacted wisdom teeth do not always cause problems. Because they are at the back end of your mouth, they are more difficult to clean. Food and bacteria are easily trapped between the gums and the wisdom tooth. This makes the impacted tooth more prone to cause gum infection and tooth decay. If it becomes infected, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Swelling of the gums
- Soreness and bleeding gums
- Swelling and pain of the jaw
- Difficulty opening your mouth
- Bad breath
- Unpleasant taste in your mouth
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms, an examination is recommended. If the impacted tooth is the source of the infection, the dentist may recommend you have the wisdom tooth removed. A lot of people question whether they should remove the other wisdom teeth if they are not causing any discomfort. Many dentists believe that all impacted wisdom teeth are potential problems which can get worse with age. It is often recommended to remove them early on to prevent damage later. However, having no pain or discomfort around your impacted teeth does not mean there is no problem. In many instances, if you are suffering from gum disease or cavities you will only experience symptoms when it reaches an advanced stage. Another reason why dentists suggest removing all the impacted wisdom teeth rather than just one, is because it is more convenient to undergo the anesthesia and the associated post operative discomfort just one time.
If you decide not to remove these teeth, it is important that your dentist is certain that they are healthy and will not cause problems in the future. If this is the case, it is recommended you go for regular check ups and ensure that oral hygiene is maintained.
If you are experiencing discomfort or have any of the symptoms we have discussed, it is best to get a dental check up. To book an appointment with Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon Hassan Haidar D.D.S. our one of our other experienced dentists in Irvine, call the office of Sedation and Implant Dentistry Irvine at (949) 424-5137.