Impacted Teeth & Wisdom Teeth
Impacted teeth – most commonly “wisdom teeth” – are teeth that cannot erupt fully. The primary cause of wisdom tooth impaction is simply inadequate jawbone space behind the second molar.
Because they erupt later (usually between age 17 to 25) and because most people’s jaws are not large enough to accommodate them, wisdom teeth can twist, tilt, and disrupt the natural placement of the remaining teeth within the mouth. This causes malocclusion and crowding.
Further complications of untreated impacted teeth can include:
- Chronic pain and/or discomfort in the mouth.
- Recurrent infection of the tooth and gums.
- Abscessed teeth.
- “Traps” created by partially erupted teeth where plaque and bacteria can accumulate, leading to decay of the wisdom teeth or even the teeth next to the wisdom teeth.
Ankylosis is another complication of impacted teeth. When the correction of impactions is delayed, the roots of the impacted tooth can sometimes fuse to the nearby bone. This creates a tooth that is “frozen” in an unerupted or partially erupted state and therefore becomes extremely difficult to extract, should the need arise.
What should I do if I have impacted teeth?
If it is clear that there is insufficient room for proper eruption, then the key would be to have the impacted teeth extracted as soon as possible. As with most surgical procedures, the longer you wait to remove impacted teeth, the greater the potential for complications. For instance, wisdom teeth removed before the roots are fully formed are often easier to extract. Once the roots are fully developed they can grow close to sensitive nerves, making extraction more difficult.
I am nervous about having that kind of surgery done. Can you help me?
We have an excellent treatment option for apprehensive patients called Oral Conscious Sedation. Oral Conscious Sedation is a safe, effective way to have necessary dental work completed with virtually no anxiety for the patient. To learn more about this procedure, click on the link above.
If you are concerned about your impacted teeth, please contact us to schedule an examination with one of our dentists.