You might’ve realized it immediately when your wisdom teeth started coming in, or maybe you didn’t. Either way, wisdom teeth that have trouble fully coming in — or erupting — are known as impacted wisdom teeth. When this happens, several complications can occur.
Not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth removed, but many people do due to several problems that may or have already occurred.
At Grace Dental Group, Woo Young Lee, DDS, and the rest of our staff care about your overall oral health, including your comfort, safety, and wellness. This is why we recommend removing impacted wisdom teeth that are in danger of or are already causing any of the complications listed here.
Wisdom teeth 101
Your wisdom teeth are the back — or third — molars that erupt for most individuals sometime between 17 and 25 years of age. Most people have two on the top layer of teeth and two on the bottom.
Sometimes, wisdom teeth erupt with little to no problem. But according to the AAOMS, it’s extremely common for at least one of these teeth to become crowded by other teeth, causing them to emerge crookedly or even to not be able to emerge at all, which can cause issues.
The removal of impacted wisdom teeth is oral surgery, so many people are nervous about the process. However, there are several treatments available for those who experience dental anxiety, and having your impacted wisdom teeth removed is often better for your oral health overall. This is especially true if one of the complications listed below is involved.
Six complications of impacted wisdom teeth
One of the most common side effects of impacted wisdom teeth is infection leading to pain and swelling. These teeth are difficult to reach with a toothbrush or dental floss, making them impossible to keep clean. Infection can cause many other problems, and wisdom teeth likely to cause it should be removed.
2. Gum disease
One of the secondary effects of infection is gum disease. Pericoronitis is the specific name for an infection in the gum tissue around the wisdom teeth. Gum disease can cause all kinds of complications that can spread throughout the body, so avoiding this is always better in the long run.
3. Tooth decay
If infection occurs in the wisdom teeth and is allowed to continue, the wisdom teeth can begin to decay. This is an even more complicated issue to treat, so it’s best to catch the problem before it gets to this point.
4. Damage to surrounding teeth
Impacted wisdom teeth can push against your nearby teeth, causing them to move out of alignment or even to become damaged themselves. If the wisdom teeth experience infection or decay, the teeth around them can also be easily affected.
Impacted wisdom teeth that grow in incorrect directions can rub against the cheek, causing discomfort and even ulcers to form. While these ulcers will usually go away with time, they can be quite painful and may continue to occur if the tooth isn’t removed.
One of the scariest possible complications of an impacted wisdom tooth is if a cyst forms inside the sac within the jawbone where the wisdom tooth grows. If this happens, the cyst can create a tumor that (while usually benign) can cause the need to remove tissue or bone from the jaw.
Remove your impacted wisdom teeth
As you can see, impacted wisdom teeth can cause many problems. Many people have them removed as a result of or to avoid such issues. If you feel like it’s time to give your impacted wisdom teeth the heave-ho, let us know! We’re happy to help.