Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to appear in one's mouth. They are the molars which are found at the back of the mouth. There are 4 wisdom teeth, two each on the upper and lower jaws. They derive the name 'wisdom' teeth as they usually erupt when a person seemingly attains 'wisdom', which would be during the last few years of their teenage.
What is wisdom teeth extraction and why is it necessary?
Wisdom teeth extraction is the removal of the wisdom teeth from its sockets in the jawbone. This has to be done because, sometimes, wisdom teeth tend to get 'stuck' between the jawbone and the gum tissue. Such teeth are called impacted wisdom teeth. If the tooth is left untreated, then it may lead to infections, the formation of tumors and cysts, tooth decay, etc. Hence, it would be better to get the wisdom teeth extracted after seeking a professional advice from an orthodontist.
What are the various ways by which impaction can happen?
- Soft tissue impaction: In this condition, the wisdom tooth would penetrate through the jawbone, but remain partially or fully under the gums. This makes cleaning the tooth and the surrounding area difficult and would also cause a lot of pain.
- Partially erupted tooth: In this condition, the tooth would be partially embedded within the jawbone. It would be highly painful.
- Complete bony impact: In this condition, the tooth is completely submerged within the jawbone. Due to this, it makes the removal of the tooth very complicated.
How can impacted wisdom teeth affect my dental setup?
Impacted wisdom teeth have the following effects:
- Infection: An infection may develop near the wisdom teeth due to the accumulation of microbes and food particles. The infection can spread to the gums and nearby teeth as well, leading to gum diseases and tooth decay.
- Damage to nearby teeth: The teeth which are adjacent to the wisdom teeth can face structural damage as well as damage due to infections. Sometimes, bone loss also occurs.
- The eruption of tumors: Cysts and tumors may develop near the impacted wisdom teeth. They could lead to oozing of puss and bleeding as well.
- Malocclusion: When the wisdom teeth do not erupt as expected, they stay under the gums and put pressure on other teeth. This would cause misalignment issues which could lead to crowding of teeth and a bad bite.
The dentist would set up a screening process to determine the extent of the impaction. Panoramic x-rays are taken to determine the exact position of the wisdom tooth and the degree of impaction. It would also help determine if the adjoining teeth have been affected, such as any deterioration or decay. If the surgery is performed during the early stages itself, such as the teenage, better results will be obtained. The dentist would suggest a suitable treatment process after careful examination. The procedure itself is similar to tooth extraction. It would be performed under the influence of local anesthesia. The swelling, bleeding, and discomfort after the surgery can be minimized by the use of suitable medication that the dentist suggests.