Impacted Wisdom Teeth: Signs and Symptoms
Neglected impacted wisdom teeth can pose a significant concern as they fail to grow properly or are incapable of fully piercing through the gum. Achieving a flawless smile with perfectly aligned teeth is not a reality for everyone. Nowadays, individuals frequently encounter various dental imperfections and abnormalities that may cause discomfort. The peril associated with impacted teeth lies in their potential to displace the alignment of the dentition. Often, the sole preventive measure against such consequences is impacted wisdom teeth removal. However, only a qualified NYC dentist can confirm the presence of such a condition and prescribe the appropriate treatment after a thorough visual examination, computed tomography, or targeted radiography.
What are Impacted Teeth?
The wisdom tooth is the 8th, outermost tooth in the dentition or third molar. It got its name because it grows last when a person reaches intellectual maturity, that is, becomes wise. A fully impacted wisdom tooth is a molar that fails to fully break through the gum and remains trapped in the jaw. This usually occurs due to limited space in the mouth or poor positioning. It may be completely or partially covered by the gum or remain completely inside the jaw. Mostly such teeth are removed because it is quite difficult to preserve a molar in an improper position.
Painful impacted wisdom teeth can have several causes, due to the physiological characteristics of jaw development and evolutionary changes in the human body:
- Not enough space in the dentition;
- Incorrect tooth position;
- Pathological processes (cysts, tumors);
- Evolutionary changes.
Such teeth do not always trigger problems but when they provoke discomfort, pain, or threaten the health of surrounding tissue, extraction is usually recommended. This is the most common pathology in dentistry, which occurs under the influence of heredity, malocclusion or early removal of baby teeth. Depending on the position of the tooth in the jaw, there are several types of retention:
- positioned at an angle forward or backward;
- horizontal impacted wisdom tooth;
- location with the short part down.
Impacted upper wisdom teeth are easier to remove because, unlike them, the lower teeth have a stronger root system. In addition, it is worth knowing that the removal of such a molar has several contraindications, such as cardiovascular diseases, infections, diabetes in the acute stage.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth Symptoms
In certain instances, the eruption of a tooth occurs without any noticeable symptoms, devoid of pain or discomfort. However, when a molar begins to emerge, it may be accompanied by swelling and redness. If the molar is concealed beneath the gumline, only a professional examination and x-ray can unveil the pathology. Impacted molar teeth may manifest varied symptoms and issues based on the particular circumstances.
Beyond pain and discomfort, this condition might be accompanied by additional indicators:
- bad breath;
- sensitivity and swelling of adjacent teeth;
- temperature increase;
- constant pain in the jaw;
- jamming of the mouth.
If such symptoms appear during the eruption of eight tooth, a visit to the doctor is required. First, the specialist will examine the oral cavity, take an x-ray, and then decide on the course of treatment and is there is a need for impacted wisdom tooth extraction.
Recognizing the discomfort associated with teeth that haven't erupted, especially when they break through the gum line, is essential. Problems with these teeth can lead to inflammation and infection, as well as other painful abscesses that demand treatment. Furthermore, an impacted molar can exert pressure on adjacent teeth, resulting in damage and displacement. The development of cysts or tumors around these teeth may also necessitate surgical intervention. Restricted access for cleaning can increase the risk of tooth decay and other oral problems. Uncontrolled changes in jaw structure can impact the bite and alignment of teeth as well.
Treatment Methods of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
The removal of the teeth, especially troublesome "eights," requires a specialized clinic equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. This process demands careful attention and precision during manipulation.
Impacted wisdom teeth treatment varies depending on the specific circumstances, the severity of the problem, and the patient's overall health. In instances where those teeth result in pain, infection, or other complications, impacted tooth extraction is frequently recommended. A dentist or maxillofacial surgeon performs the extraction procedure for impacted teeth using either local or general anesthesia, selecting the most suitable option based on the intricacies of the case.
In instances where a molar is positioned unfavorably or is encased in bone, surgical intervention may become necessary. This might entail the removal of bone fragments or incisions into the gum for proper access to the tooth. In cases of infection, a course of antibiotics may be prescribed either before or after surgery to prevent or address any infections.
On occasion, if impacted upper wisdom teeth pose no immediate issues and removal isn't deemed necessary, a physician may opt for regular monitoring through checkups to ensure there are no complications. In rare instances, the repositioning of wisdom teeth using orthodontic methods is conceivable, but its feasibility depends on specific circumstances and is not universally applicable.
After taking out impacted wisdom teeth, minor pain, bleeding from the wound, and rarely, suture separation may occur. Tissue swelling and pain when chewing food and opening the jaw are also observed. If the pain does not go away within 2-3 days (provided you are taking painkillers), you should consult a doctor. In general, rehabilitation takes from 1 to 5 days. After a few days, you must visit a doctor for a follow-up examination of the results of treatment and removal of stitches.
Often, full post-operative recovery takes more than two weeks, depending on how complex the intervention is. The doctor's recommendations consist of daily rinsing, taking painkillers and hemostatic drugs, as well as antibacterial therapy. You should give up spicy, solid foods and introduce porridge and soups into your diet so that any mechanical effect on the wound is minimized. Teeth should be brushed 2-3 times a day, and after eating, rinse the mouth with antiseptic solutions.
Article Approved by:
D. Timothy Culotta General Dentist, DDS