Wisdom teeth do not have a use, and they often cause issues when they erupt. Wisdom teeth are extra upper and lower molars that erupt many years after our other adult teeth. Wisdom teeth can appear at different times, and they can cause a lot of pain, irritation, and many complications.
They sometimes erupt in the wrong place, or they partially erupt and provide a home for bacteria and infection. Wisdom teeth get impacted, where the wisdom tooth wedges itself between the jawbone and another tooth. That is why most people have their wisdom teeth removed.
Symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth
Many human jaws cannot accommodate four extra molars, and when wisdom teeth erupt, they have to push their way into confined areas, so they become impacted. It can be excruciatingly painful. Common symptoms are tender and swollen jaw, gums and mouth, inflamed neck and shoulder glands, and bad headaches.
Impaction can result in decay or displacement of other teeth, infected gums, gum diseases, and damaged nerves.
Soft tissue impactions occur when there is limited space for wisdom teeth to erupt, gum tissue does not contract, and bacteria thrive in this area and cause oral infections. Teeth can also become wholly impacted and embedded in the jawbone, and in doing this, they disrupt and readjust existing teeth.
Why must wisdom teeth be removed at a young age?
Many dentists believe that wisdom teeth should be removed at a young age, and definitely before 25, because if wisdom teeth are left unattended, then many issues may occur. Existing teeth get moved and realigned due to overcrowding. The bite can alter, and there may be sinus issues or periodontal diseases.
Wisdom teeth have 2 – 3 roots, and when the patient is young, these roots are soft, making it an easy extraction procedure. If wisdom teeth are left intact, the root system firmly imbeds itself into the jawbone, and extractions are indubitably painful and problematic. After the age of 25, there are many more risks involved. However, if a person has never had problems with their wisdom teeth, and they are older than 30, it is unlikely that they will have wisdom teeth problems.
There are slight risks involved with any surgery, but generally, wisdom tooth removal is safe, as long as the operation is at an early age. An oral or maxillofacial surgeon is sometimes needed to extract impacted wisdom teeth. The procedure takes place under aesthetic, either in the surgeon’s office or in a hospital. The dental surgeon may have to cut into the gum or bone tissues to get the tooth out.
These are some of the post-operative problems that may occur in older patients:
- painful or swollen gums
- gums that do not heal
- bleeding that persists longer than 24 hours
- difficulty opening the jaw (trismus)
- damage to dental work
- dry socket inflammation
- permanent numbness in the mouth or lips
You must contact your dentist if you have impacted wisdom teeth. It is not worth it to ignore the problem.