Impacted Wisdom Tooth

Wisdom teeth are the third molars at the back of the mouth. They are the last adult teeth to erupt. Impacted wisdom tooth is the tooth that does not have enough room for emerging or growing resulting in pain, damage to other teeth and other oral problems. This article discusses about the symptoms, complications and the procedure to remove impacted wisdom tooth/teeth.

In many cases, there are no obvious symptoms. However, impacted wisdom tooth can damage and rarely have the following symptoms:

  • Bad breath
  • Painful gum or jaw bone
  • Prolonged headache
  • Swelling on the gums where your impacted wisdom tooth is.
  • Problem opening
  • Swollen glands in your neck (rarely)

Surgical procedure to remove Impacted wisdom tooth
Impacted wisdom tooth may not erupt entirely or not at all causing a number of dental problems. Dentists will often remove (extract) it. For removing wisdom tooth/teeth, your dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon for this procedure.

First the surgeon will give you local anesthesia to numb the area around your impacted wisdom tooth. An incision is made to open your gums. Then the surgeon will separate the tissue that connects the tooth to the bone and removes the tooth. Finally, stitches are given to close the gums and packed with gauze which needs to be changed for every 40-45 minutes.

Complications with impacted wisdom tooth
Impacted wisdom tooth can cause several problems:

  • Damage to other teeth: If the impacted wisdom tooth is pushing the its front tooth (second molar), it can cause pain and make it more prone to infections. This pressure can also cause crowding of teeth that may require orthodontic treatment.
  • Decay: Partially impacted wisdom tooth is more prone to tooth decay. It is mainly because of improper cleaning and food particles gets easily struck in between the partially erupted tooth and gums.
  • Cysts: Often wisdom tooth grows into the socket in jaw bone that fills with fluid and in very rare condition creating cyst that damages nerves, teeth and jawbone. This may sometimes require removal of tissues and bones.

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