Often wisdom teeth will erupt with no concerns but if there’s not enough space they can become ‘impacted’
Wisdom teeth are the large molars at the back of your mouth. They are normally the last of the adult teeth to emerge. In most cases, this is likely to occur in your late teens to early twenties around the ages of 17 to 24.
As the wisdom teeth come through, they can sometimes be the cause of concern and some anxiety.
Apart from the normal discomfort associated with tooth emergence, added problems can occur due to the impaction of these teeth. Tooth impaction is the term used to describe the lack of space necessary for the teeth to emerge. In the case of wisdom teeth, this is usually the lack of space left between the 2nd molar and the rear aspect of the lower jawbone.
What happens when a wisdom tooth erupts?
When the wisdom teeth break up through the surface of your gums, this is called eruption. Often times the tooth can move in stages which can mean it is only ‘partially erupted’ during the eruption process.
In some instances impacted wisdom teeth may never erupt and cause no problems at all, but some patients can suffer problems such as inflammation of the surrounding gum tissues, tooth decay, gum disease, and jaw joint or muscle pain.
It is possible that in some circumstances, your wisdom teeth may require removal and if this is necessary, at All About Teeth, we will take full mouth radiographs to plan for the procedure. We can also refer you to a specialist oral surgeon if needed.
Why do we have wisdom teeth?
Many anthropologists think our wisdom teeth were evolutions answer to our ancestors early prehistoric diet. This diet consisted of lots of rough foods like nuts, leaves, roots and raw meat. These foods required us to chew more, so more chewing power and more teeth were required.
Today, our modern diet of softer foods and the inventions of utensils like knives and forks have made our wisdom teeth essentially non-existent. Evolutionary biologists classify wisdom teeth as vestigial organs which means they are essentially functionless body parts.
How do dentists remove wisdom teeth?
Today, wisdom teeth removal is a relatively easy and simple procedure that can be performed in the dental chair.
The process will involve the following steps:
- Before the procedure starts you will receive an injection of local anaesthetic to numb the teeth and surrounding area. Some of our patients are quite anxious around dental treatments so we have implemented some further pain management treatments to calm this fear.
- If your tooth hasn’t come through your gum line, a small cut will be made in the gum to access it.
- The bone may be cut into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove through the opening. You may feel some pressure as the tooth is removed because the dentists will need to widen the tooth socket by rocking the tooth back and forth.
The entire procedure will depend on each patient, but the usual time can be anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour.
For more information on wisdom teeth removal or to schedule an appointment with our experiences staff, contact either one of our offices today.