Your wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt and reside in the back of your mouth on each side of both the upper and lower jaw.
When wisdom teeth erupt, some people have no complications while others do as a result of an individual’s jaw structure and positioning of their teeth. In the case where an individual has suffered from an impacted tooth, the jaw doesn’t have enough room for the new tooth, and the tooth doesn’t erupt (stays inside the jaw bone). In addition to insufficient space in the mouth, or the misalignment of your jaw, some individuals may have tough gums which can make it hard for the wisdom tooth to penetrate the gum surface.
When to remove wisdom teeth
Impacted teeth can be removed at any age, but it is generally agreed that removing wisdom teeth during the late teens/early twenties is advantageous since the tooth roots may not yet be completely formed, thus allowing for easier removal. Your wisdom teeth can be removed later in life, however, and most patients request removal when their teeth become impacted.
It is often strongly recommended to remove the wisdom teeth to avoid a host of dental issues that can progress into other more serious health concerns. Pain is often the first symptom of impacted wisdom teeth, and is cyclic in type which means the pain will come and go in waves of a period of time, this is known as remission and exacerbation.
The problem with impacted wisdom teeth and why you should remove them
Eventually, a range of problems will present themselves if leaving impacted wisdom teeth within the jaw bone including:
- Inflammation of the overlying gums – Also known as “pericoronitis” which is when the tooth is partially covered by the gums. Food and bacteria begin gathering beneath the gums that can cause pain and inflammation. The pain is of the cyclic type.
- Tooth decay of the impacted and adjacent teeth – Being inaccessible for tooth brushing, food may accumulate between impacted teeth and their adjacent teeth, starting a process of tooth decay.
- Referred pain – Impacted wisdom teeth can cause jaw and muscle pain known as TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder). Pain can also be referred to other nearby structures such as the ears or teeth in the same or opposing jaw.
- Pathological lesions – Over time, cysts may start to form around the impacted teeth which can destroy the surrounding bone. These cysts may threaten vital structures such as the nerves, root canal or weaken the jaw bones. In extreme cases, this can cause a benign tumour.
For your comfort, if you wish to have your wisdom teeth surgery procedure under a general anaesthetic, Dr Sam Hadjipetrou has visiting rights at St Andrews Day Hospital theatres and would be able to arrange this if needed. Most of the time, this procedure is preferable under general anaesthetic.
At Family Dental Clinic – West End we can safely and comfortably remove your wisdom teeth at any stage in life. If you are concerned about your wisdom teeth of their condition please call our friendly practice to book an appointment for a professional assessment.