Impacted Wisdom Teeth: Learn What They Are, Causes, Symptoms & Dental Treatments

Wisdom teeth are usually the last set of teeth to grow. Their development causes a bit of discomfort as they implant themselves into the gum tissue at the very back of the jaws. However, sometimes there may not be enough space for the wisdom teeth to grow naturally and an obstruction may occur. When this happens, the wisdom teeth are trapped under the gum sockets, either wholly or partially. Such wisdom teeth are said to be impacted and need dental care to avoid inflammation and infections. Read on to learn more.

Why is treatment of impacted teeth important?

If you think you have an impacted wisdom tooth, you should seek immediate dental care for a number of reasons:

  • To avoid causing teeth crowding. This can lead to improper bite and difficulties cleaning teeth.
  • To prevent inflammation. Impacted wisdom teeth often cause great pain and inflammation of the gums and jaw.
  • To prevent infections. If not treated, impacted wisdom teeth can cause cysts and infection of the gum tissue.
  • To avoid erosion of adjacent teeth. Where the impacted wisdom tooth is leaning against the adjacent molar, erosion can occur. This can cause infection, decay and even subsequent loss of the tooth.
  • To avoid wear of the surrounding gums. When the impacted wisdom tooth has emerged and is visible, it's likely that the surrounding gum tissue will wear and get inflamed.

Signs you may have impacted wisdom teeth:

  • Your wisdom teeth take too long to fully emerge. Though wisdom teeth take long to grow, undue delays can sometimes be due to impaction.
  • Your wisdom teeth are very painful. Impacted wisdom teeth cause inflammation that causes severe pain.
  • Your wisdom teeth are abnormally positioned. If your wisdom teeth are skewed, out of line or sunken, they may be impacted.

What is done to treat impacted wisdom teeth?

  • Surgical removal of overlapping gum tissue: This helps prevent inflammation of the gum and jaw, reducing pain and chances of periodontal infection.
  • Teeth extraction: In many cases, an impacted wisdom tooth is removed, especially if the tooth is impacted below the gum layer. Your mouth will still function normally even after the extraction.
  • Root canal therapy: If the pulp in the wisdom tooth has been infected, a root canal therapy treatment will be required to abate the infection and save the tooth.
  • Periodontal cleaning: If the gum pockets are infected, periodontal cleaning is carried out to prevent periodontal disease.

If you have a wisdom tooth growing, it's best to see a dentist so that possible impaction can be diagnosed early. For more information on the growth, symptoms or treatment of wisdom teeth, talk with a dentist at a practice like Absolute Smiles.