A wisdom tooth is an extra tooth that develops in the back of your mouth, behind your molars. Every adult usually develops four wisdom teeth, one in each quadrant of the jaw. Wisdom teeth often cause problems because they are hard to reach and clean. As a result, plaque and tartar can build up, which can lead to decay and infection.
What Causes an Impacted Wisdom Tooth?
The eruption of wisdom teeth depends on the size of the mouth, the anatomy of the jaw, and the position of the developing teeth within the jaw. If the jaws are not large enough to accommodate extra teeth, they can become impacted or trapped in the jawbone. This can cause pain and other complications that require treatment.
In some cases, impacted wisdom teeth do not need to be removed at all. However, if the teeth are causing severe pain, irritation, or other problems, it may be necessary to have them removed in order to alleviate symptoms. Some patients choose to have their wisdom teeth removed even if they are not experiencing any discomfort due to the risk of future inflammation in the gums and surrounding structures.
How Is an Impacted Wisdom Tooth Diagnosed?
An x-ray can be used to diagnose an impacted wisdom tooth. A panoramic x-ray is recommended, as this gives a view of the entire mouth. An extraoral x-ray may also be used if the wisdom teeth are located close to the jaw bones or the sinuses.
If a patient is unable to undergo x-rays due to anxiety or other factors, the dentist may issue a referral to an oral surgeon for a consultation and examination.
The dentist will examine the patient’s mouth for any symptoms of impaction, such as pain, swelling, redness, gum tenderness, bleeding, or limited opening of the jaw. In some cases, the dentist may not be able to determine the status of a patient’s wisdom teeth by observation alone. In this case, we will order another x-ray to confirm the diagnosis.
It is important to note that not all patients will need to have their wisdom teeth removed. Some patients experience no symptoms at all, while others may only experience mild symptoms and can wait until their wisdom teeth fully erupt before removing them. Patients may also not require orthodontic treatment if their wisdom teeth are only slightly misaligned.
How Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth Treated?
At Dr. Wisdom Teeth, we may suggest removing impacted wisdom teeth before they cause more problems in the future. This can prevent damage to surrounding teeth and infections in the gums and jawbone. Our dentists perform the procedure in our Tan Valley dental office with local anesthesia and sedation dentistry options to help patients relax during the procedure. Following extraction, we recommend that patients have a friend or family member drive them home and care for them as they recover from the anesthesia. We recommend that patients avoid strenuous activities for the next few days after their wisdom tooth removal to prevent accidental injury from bleeding or swelling.
To learn more, call us at (833) 394-7366 and book an appointment with our dentist at 287 E. Hunt Hwy. #101, San Tan Valley, AZ 85143.