An average adult develops thirty-two teeth by the age of eighteen, each of them performing specific functions. The front teeth, including incisors, canine and bicuspid teeth, help in gripping and biting food into pieces, whereas the molars or back teeth help grind the food to make swallowing easy. The last set of teeth to emerge, called third molars, are also known as "wisdom teeth" as they emerge during the late teens or early twenties, at an age more mature than childhood.
However, a typical mouth is made to contain only 28 teeth comfortably. Hence, it might be painful and uncomfortable when all the thirty-two adult teeth try to fit in the mouth due to overcrowding, thus giving rise to various oral health issues.
If the wisdom teeth couldn't find space to emerge in a crowded mouth that already contains 28 teeth, these new teeth may either start growing sideways or emerge partially or remain trapped beneath the gums. Partially or fully trapped wisdom teeth are known as impacted wisdom teeth and can give way to unseen and severe dental issues like nerve and jaw damage. Besides, the overcrowding of the teeth in the mouth can cause misalignment of the other teeth.
So, whether these third molars have emerged or not, they may lead to these various problems:
The best way to prevent the occurrence of any problems associated with wisdom teeth is their early evaluation and removal if required.
If there is insufficient space in the jawbone and mouth for the wisdom teeth to emerge out, they may stay under the jawbone or the gums, erupting either partially or not at all. Such teeth may need to be extracted.
Unerupted wisdom teeth can increase the risk of teeth misalignment, making them difficult to clean. So, it is better to extract such wisdom teeth as they don't have any role in one's ability to chew or bite.
Partially erupted wisdom teeth are not easy to reach with a toothbrush or dental floss while cleaning. Besides, due to the angle of the teeth, sometimes, the gum tissue may cover a part of the tooth, becoming an ideal breeding place for bacteria, increasing the risk of tooth decay, teeth abscess, and gum infection.
Wisdom teeth can result in overcrowding in the mouth, which may eventually affect the alignment of the teeth.
The wisdom teeth extraction procedure depends on the severity of the impaction and the extent to which the tooth has erupted out of the gums. By obtaining an x-ray of the patient's mouth, we will understand their wisdom teeth's positioning and assess the severity of the impaction. If there is an infection, we will try to treat it using medication and extract the tooth only if needed.
During the extraction process, after administering local anesthesia to the area adjacent to the impacted tooth, we will make a minor incision on the gums to reveal the impacted tooth beneath the gums. We will grip the tooth with dental forceps and remove it. After completion of the surgery, we will stitch the wound and recommend medication for easing the pain and faster healing.
If you want to know more about wisdom teeth extraction or wish to undergo the procedure, reach us at Vasquez & Associates Dental Office. You can call us at (760) 529-5339 to schedule your appointment.