Wisdom teeth are the last four teeth to erupt in adulthood and are usually found at both ends of the lower and upper jaw. When for one reason or the other they do not fully emerge or do not emerge at all they are said to be impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth may not cause any problems but to others they cause serious dental issues.
A wisdom tooth can either be fully or partially impacted. A partially impacted wisdom tooth will erupt just to the surface, meaning the crown is the only visible part on the gum. A fully or partially impacted wisdom tooth can also grow bending towards the adjoining tooth or towards the back of the mouth. It can also grow ‘lying down’ i.e. at a right angle to the rest of the teeth.
Wisdom teeth may become impacted when there is not enough room in the mouth to erupt. The crowding may be caused by spaced out teeth in the mouth.
Although many people may not get problems when their wisdom teeth impact, others suffer a great deal of discomfort such as:
- Swollen gums
- Gums that are bleeding
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Bad breath
Impacted wisdom teeth may become a source of infection in the mouth as they are at unreachable places thus cleaning them may be a problem. When they are infected it is easy for them to spread the bacteria to other teeth. They may also damage other teeth especially if they grow at a wrong angle or against other teeth. They may cause pain when they lie against mouth tissue if they grow at an angle towards the back of the mouth.
When impacted wisdom teeth cause problems, a visit to the dentist is warranted. Mostly the only course of action is to extract these teeth. This is because it has already grown wrong and no procedure can make it to grow in the right direction. The extraction gives relief to the pain and other discomfort felt by the patient.
Frequent visits to the dentist are necessary to help diagnose if there is a problem with wisdom teeth before they become a nuisance. When a dentist notices that the teeth are crowding, he can be able to recommend treatment to correct this spacing problem thus enable the wisdom teeth to erupt as they should in the mouth.