What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are technically classified as the “third molars”, the large, flat teeth at the back of the mouth. These are the last teeth to develop and erupt through the gum. Interestingly, a small percent of the population doesn’t even grow these teeth.
Why do wisdom teeth get removed?
The most common reasons wisdom teeth need to be removed is they are partially or wholly impacted. Partial impaction means they are butting up against an adjacent tooth, while whole impaction means the tooth may actually be sideways under the gum.
These issues are typically the result of insufficient space in the jaw to accommodate the extra teeth. Many people actually grow their wisdom teeth out with no complications, and never need them removed.
How can I tell if my wisdom teeth are misaligned?
The best way to spot partially impacted or misaligned wisdom teeth is with x-ray. The team at Fabulous Smiles Dental Care can use digital x-rays to spot problematic wisdom teeth before they start causing pain and discomfort.
There are other ways to spot problem wisdom teeth without an x-ray:
• Food gets stuck between them and adjacent teeth
• The wisdom teeth face at odd angles to the rest of the teeth
• The teeth are crowding nearby teeth
• The tooth is barely crowning above the gum after some time
These teeth will start to cause pain and discomfort over time. They can also lead to an increased risk of abscesses, infections, and other complications in the jaw. Getting them removed is ideal.
How can I spot an impacted wisdom tooth?
X-rays are the best way to spot fully impacted teeth, as they’re completely hidden below the gum. The following may be signs there’s an impacted tooth out of view, but x-ray is the only way to know for sure:
• Reddening and swelling of the gums
• Gums that are tender or bleeding
• Pain in the jaw or gums, especially when you bite and chew
• Chronic bad breath, or a chronic bad taste in the mouth
• Difficulty opening your mouth, or pain when opening your mouth
What should I expect during wisdom teeth extraction?
Wisdom teeth extractions are often simple operations that can be done in a dental clinic. Under local anesthetic, the dentist dislodges the tooth before extracting it fully. Fully impacted teeth require a more significant operation that goes through the gum, but this is still typically done under local.
Afterwards, swelling, redness, and discomfort can be expected, but easily managed. Pain should be kept in check with over-the-counter medication, and you should notice the swelling subside completely in a week.
I you’re having wisdom teeth problems, contact your Torrance family dentistry team at Fabulous Smile Dental Care today.