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, these are the last of the teeth to break through the gums. A tooth may become impacted due to insufficient space in the dental arch, an abnormal position of the wisdom tooth, the presence of some associated pathology like a cyst and other factors.
A fully impacted wisdom tooth is when the entire tooth is submerged under the gums and bone. 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 crown visible.
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause the following complications:
- Gum disease with loss of bone
- Dental decay of the wisdom teeth and in some cases the adjacent tooth
- Dental cysts may develop around the wisdom teeth causing damage to adjacent teeth
- Crowding of the teeth if there is inadequate space in the arch
Impacted wisdom teeth do not always cause problems. However, since 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 partially erupted tooth. This makes the wisdom tooth more prone to cause gum infection and dental decay.
If it becomes infected, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Redness and swelling of the gums
- Bleeding gums and soreness
- Jaw swelling
- Pain in the jaw
- Difficulty in opening the mouth
- Bad breath and unpleasant taste
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms, an examination and X-rays are recommended at Sedation and Implant Dentistry Irvine. If the impacted tooth is the source of the infection, it may be advised to 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. Some people believe that all impacted wisdom teeth are potential problems which can get worse with age. It is often recommended to remove them early in order to prevent damage in the future. However, having no pain or discomfort around your impacted teeth does not mean there isn’t a problem. In many instances, if you are suffering from gum disease or dental cavities you will only experience symptoms when it reaches an advanced stage. Some dentists may suggest removing all impacted wisdom teeth rather than just one because it is more convenient to undergo the anesthesia and the associated post operative discomfort just the one time.
However, it is also argued that impacted wisdom teeth need not be removed if they do not cause any problems. There are complications that can arise after removal of impacted wisdom teeth such as swelling, dry socket and sometimes nerve damage. 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 mentioned symptoms, it is best to schedule a dental appointment with Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon, Hassan Haidar D.D.S.. Call us at (949) 424-5137.