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Classic Smiles Team
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Some people are lucky enough to never have wisdom teeth come in or have them come in without even realizing out. Others are not so fortunate and must endure a painful emergence or impacted wisdom teeth. Classic Smiles has seen this countless times and can help you understand what you can and can’t see when wisdom teeth decide to misbehave.
Wising Up on Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are the mouth’s third and final set of molars. People usually see these in their late teens or early twenties. These teeth do serve a function as they are flat and designed to help grind food down. Thanks to utensils we do not really need wisdom teeth anymore, which is why about 47% of people don’t have them come in. It is courtesy of genetics that the remaining 53% do have at least 1 wisdom tooth come in and men are more likely to see this than women. It is possible for wisdom teeth to come in without even knowing they are there, or they have come in but aren’t visible because they are trapped under the gums. This is known as an impacted wisdom tooth or teeth and it can lead to significant dental problems.
The Impact of Impact
An X-ray can tell us if you have one or more impacted wisdom teeth. While there are cases in which people have no problems at all, most are at risk or do experience oral issues due to these impacted teeth. If anything, they are harder to clean and more vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease than the rest of your teeth. In the event of a partially erupted wisdom tooth, there is a flap of gum tissue over the tooth called an operculum. In addition to these teeth being harder to clean, this soft tissue is a perfect place for trapping bacteria and leading to an infection called pericoronitis.
Symptoms of the infection of impacted wisdom teeth include red, swollen, sensitive, or bleeding gums, jaw pain, swelling around the jaw, bad breath, and unpleasant taste in the mouth, or even trouble opening the mouth. If we notice any of these symptoms or feel you are at risk for problems with your wisdom teeth, we will review all options with you. While you cannot prevent an impact, regular cleanings and checkups allow us to monitor the growth and emergence of wisdom teeth.
There are other categories of impact which can cause more than gum discomfort. In the event of mesioangular impact, the tooth is angled toward the front of the mouth while distoangular impacts angle the tooth toward the back of the mouth. A horizontal impact is defined as the wisdom tooth being at a full 90-degree side angle and growing into the roots of the molar next to it. In these cases, the impacted tooth can significantly impact other teeth.
If you are unsure what condition your wisdom teeth are in, or if you even have them, Classic Smiles can answer your questions. Call us today at (407) 378-0139 so we can see what you might not be able to.