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Should I do anything about my impacted wisdom tooth?

Photo: Should I do anything about my impacted wisdom tooth?
Your wisdom teeth are those teeth at the back of your mouth that emerge in early 20s. Not only are they the last teeth to emerge, they usually don’t appear until you’re in your late teens or early 20s.

Even if they fail to erupt at all, it doesn’t mean that they are not present. Visible or otherwise, it can take years before your wisdom teeth start to cause any problems, which is why many people are caught off guard when those problems arise later on in life. However, it should be noted that not everyone has wisdom teeth and that not every wisdom tooth causes problems.

One of the ways in which a wisdom tooth dentist can ascertain whether or not a wisdom tooth would potentially cause problems is to determine whether or not that particular wisdom tooth is impacted.

See wisdom teeth removal by Pure Dentistry Dentists in Brisbane. Wisdom teeth can also be removed by dentists under general anaesthesia. Find out more about wisdom teeth removal under GA.
What is an impacted wisdom tooth?

The way in which your wisdom teeth emerge varies from person to person. Many factors affect the eruption of wisdom teeth – some are evolutionary while others may be due to changing eating habits or tooth loss conditions.

All these factors can contribute to the lack of space on your jawbone to accommodate the emergence of your wisdom teeth.

Since they are the last to emerge, they are the ones having to jostle for whatever remaining spaces that are left on your jawbone. When there isn’t sufficient room for them to grow into, your wisdom teeth – also known as third molars – will be compelled to: emerge at an angle; emerge partially; or not emerge at all.

When that happens, you will have what dentists refer to as an impacted wisdom tooth.

There are different names for the different types of impaction that relate to the specific emergence profile of your wisdom tooth:

  • Mesial impaction: Slanted toward your second molar (most common)
     
  • Vertical impaction: Upright position but still not erupted
     
  • Horizontal impaction: Lying on its side
     
  • Distal impaction: Slanted toward the back of your mouth

As mentioned, some wisdom teeth may get stuck beneath the gum line – usually because they cannot make it pass the bony tissues – and fail to emerge at all.

How do I know if my wisdom teeth are impacted?

When your impacted wisdom teeth are ‘fighting’ for their ‘rightful’ positions on your jawbone they will cause a host of complications. Even if they fail to emerge or only emerge partially, your wisdom teeth may still be jostling for that elusive space beneath the gum-line. Partial erupted wisdom teeth are more difficult to clean and make it easier to trap bacteria in the gum area. They also increase the risk of gum disease.

The ones that do emerge may be angled outwards and irritate the soft tissues on the inside walls of your cheeks or lips. If there are not opposing teeth present, your wisdom teeth may protrude so far that it throws off your bite.

Generally, the dentist will recommend that you consider wisdom teeth removal when the following problems are present:

  • Damage caused to neighbouring teeth
     
  • Tooth decay (presence of cavities that cannot be restored)
     
  • Infections
     
  • Presence of cysts or tumours
     
  • Gum diseases

As the main healthcare professionals that look after the wellbeing of your teeth and gums, your general dentist is in the best person to determine whether or not you have impacted wisdom teeth.

Typically speaking, the sooner your wisdom teeth are removed, the more straightforward the procedure will be and the shorter the healing period required.

So if you have already come of age  – in your late teens or early 20s – this is a good time to get your teeth checked for wisdom teeth by a dentist, to determine whether or not they may cause problems in the future.

Have your Wisdom Teeth assessed by your dentist to find out if they are impacted or not.

Book an appointment with our friendly Brisbane Dentist (Pure Dentistry) in Brisbane – call (07) 3343 4869.

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