Wisdom teeth are known for being the causes of many health problems, some of which affect not only the tooth itself, but the surrounding teeth or, in very severe cases, the entire row of teeth or the entire mouth as well. One of these problems is impaction, that is, the inability of the wisdom tooth to erupt through the gum. Here is why the problem is so common and how it can be solved.
Why Wisdom Tooth Cause So Many Issues
When fully developed, human dentition includes four wisdom teeth, one in each quadrant, at each end of the rows of teeth. Also called third molars, wisdom teeth were important for our ancestors who used them to grind the plant tissue that made up most of their diet, but ever since humans settled down and especially after the Industrial Revolution, our way of life and diet has changed so much that these vestigial molars no longer play any role in chewing and grinding our food. The human mouth has also changed a lot to accommodate such lifestyle changes, one of the changes being the increase in size of other teeth and the consequent diminishment of the space available for wisdom teeth. The process has led to the appearance of severe problems that affect the growth process of these third molars, impaction being one of them.
How Does Wisdom Tooth Impaction Manifest
Wisdom teeth become impacted because of the difference in size between the tooth that is about to erupt and the size available for it to occupy. The issue causes the wisdom tooth either to grow incorrectly, in the wrong direction, pushing other teeth, too or to be unable to erupt at all and to grow under the gum surface, causing even more serious problems.
In many cases, impacted wisdom teeth do not cause any symptoms for a long time, but being improperly erupted, they are very difficult to clean and that makes them more prone to infections and complications than other teeth that are easier to reach. The signs and symptoms can vary largely, the most common indicators of wisdom tooth impaction being jaw pain, swelling around the jaw, red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums, difficulty or pain opening the mouth, bad breath and an unpleasant taste in the mouth.
How Is an Impacted Wisdom Tooth Treated
In some cases, impacted wisdom teeth can be treated by general dentists. In these cases, the wisdom tooth extraction Skokie specialist will clean the affected area and will apply fillings to correct the cavities. However, most impacted wisdom teeth need to be extracted, the complexity of the procedure requiring the attention of an oral surgeon. The intervention performed to remove impacted wisdom teeth is essentially the same as the extraction of any other teeth – the patient receives local anesthesia or undergoes deeper sedation, then the doctor removes the tooth, cleans and dresses the wound or applies stitches –, but if the tooth is very severely affected, very large or problematic from other aspects, the complete anesthesia of the patient might be required.