You'd Be Wise To Fix That!
Wisdom teeth usually erupt into the mouth between the ages of 17 and 21. However, in many patients there is no room in the mouth for them to erupt. In these cases, the wisdom teeth may not erupt at all and stay imbedded in the jaw bone. They may also try and erupt by pushing through the jaw bone and gum. Sometimes they only get a certain distance and cannot move any further. The wisdom teeth may only partially erupt into the mouth.
Wisdom teeth that have enough room to erupt may do so into a fairly upright position. Sometimes the space is tight and they may be pushed towards the cheek or towards the palate and tongue. Wisdom teeth that are in a fairly good position should be able to be kept. They are still right at the back of the mouth so need extra attention to be kept clean. Wisdom teeth are at higher risk of tooth decay and gum infections as they are hard to reach with a toothbrush and floss.
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How Deep Is Your Wisdom?
Wisdom teeth that are fully encased in bone usually do not cause any problems. They should be monitored as there are cases where they develop cysts or other pathology around them. They can also erupt if the tooth in front of them has to be removed, providing room for further movement. They are unlikely to erupt into a very ideal position and tend to become partially impacted.
Many wisdom teeth try and erupt into the mouth but can only partially erupt and become impacted. These are the problematic ones. They can be angled towards the teeth in front of them and cause damage to the back of these teeth. Sometimes you will feel pressure and discomfort on the remaining teeth just from the wisdom trying to erupt. They are partially covered in gum tissue but partially exposed which makes cleaning both the tooth and gum a nightmare. The tooth is prone to decay and the gum prone to infections. Sometimes the infections can become very severe causing the cheek to swell up, a bad taste and a difficulty opening the mouth.
Maybe They'll Just Fix Themselves!
If you are experiencing pain and swelling with your wisdom teeth, they probably need extraction. It’s very common to have wisdom teeth removed and it isn’t anywhere near as painful as leaving them alone. Here is what happens during the appointment:
- Thorough assessment of position and angulation
- Discussion of x-ray findings
- Discussion of procedure including risks
- Penthrox gas sedation if needed
- Local anaesthetic given
- Teeth removal
- Infection drained
- Clotting established
- Make sure you are fine
Letting Go Is True Wisdom!
It is best to remove these impacted wisdom teeth. Symptoms tend to come and go but always come back as long as the teeth are in bad positions. Draining the infection and taking a course of antibiotics may provide temporary relief. Removal of the problematic wisdom teeth is the only permanent solution. In most cases, this can be done for you in our practice under local anaesthetic. Penthrox gas sedation is also available for those needing extra help with pain and anxiety. For very difficult cases, we can refer you to a specialist oral surgeon with the option of surgery under general anaesthetic.
An OPG x-ray is the best tool for assessing wisdom teeth. The one x-ray provides a good view of all 4 wisdom teeth. Using this x-ray, we can determine how angled the wisdom teeth are in relation to the adjacent teeth. We can see how close the roots of the wisdom teeth are to the floor of the sinuses in the cheeks and the large nerve in the lower jaw bone and the risk of damaging these during surgery. We will only extract wisdom teeth for you if we feel it is safe to do so after thorough assessment.