Some patients’ wisdom teeth grow straight (or don’t even arrive at all) but for others, impacted wisdom teeth can cause discomfort and inconvenience. Problematic or crowded wisdom teeth should usually be removed, to avoid future complications, but not all wisdom teeth grow impacted. At Scott Street Dental we are committed to ensuring our patients receive the highest level of dental care and comfort.
What Are Wisdom Teeth And Why Do We Need Them?
Essentially your wisdom teeth perform the job of a third set of molars – they are back up teeth in the event that one or more of your molars is damaged or lost.
But, thanks to modern dentistry most of us find our molars can last for the rest of our lives so by the time the wisdom teeth emerge (which is usually only in your late teens or early 20s), and still have all our adult teeth, there tends not to be any space for them to erupt.
Do My Wisdom Teeth Need To Be Removed?
Not always – wisdom teeth that do not present with any issues should not be removed – you may need them later on, after all. Only if your wisdom teeth are impacted should they be removed.
What Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
If there isn’t enough space in your jaw, your wisdom teeth can erupt at an angle. This means it can impact other teeth in your mouth, causing irritation or infection in your gums or soft tissue.
What Can Impacted Wisdom Teeth Cause?
Crowded wisdom teeth are more difficult to keep clean than teeth that emerge fully from the gums and are straight.
This makes them more susceptible to infection and decay.
When wisdom teeth do not grow straight they also pose a risk to your other teeth because they can cause damage.
When wisdom teeth are impacted and cause recurring infection it can also cause your lymph glands under your jaw to swell up.
How Do You Know If You Have Crowded Wisdom Teeth?
The surest way to know how your wisdom teeth are emerging is to consult with your dentist and have a professional x-ray taken. However, you may also present with certain symptoms such as
- Red, swollen gums
- Pain the gums, face or jaw
- Jaw stiffness
- General feeling of being unwell
If your wisdom teeth are erupting at an angle, impacting on other teeth, proving difficult to clean, or struggling to erupt from under the gum they may need to be removed.
Why It Is Important To Extract Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Impacted wisdom teeth generally do not self-resolve. When inflammation and infection is left untreated it can progress, resulting in the formation of a cyst around the impacted wisdom tooth. This infection can destroy the bone in your jaw and cause damage to your gums and other teeth.
While your dentist may be able to prescribe antibiotics to clear up an infection, it’s possible for the infection to return. Extracting the impacted wisdom tooth is the only permanent solution to prevent re-infection.
Regular visits to your dentist will enable your dental practitioner to keep an eye on your wisdom teeth as they emerge. Removing them early is often the best way to prevent long term complications, and to encourage a swift recovery.
What To Expect From The Wisdom Tooth Extraction Process?
Most wisdom tooth extractions can be performed under local anaesthetic, in your dentist’s chair. Very rarely, when the extraction is expected to be very complex hospital admission is required. Patients who have dental fears or anxieties may have conscious sedation during the procedure.
Do you still have questions or concerns about impacted wisdom teeth or your wisdom tooth extraction? It’s always best to get a professional opinion. Contact us for an appointment today at (02) 9158 6393.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.