Facing wisdom teeth removal is not for the faint of heart. Many signs tell us adulthood is around the corner. During our teenage years, we experience strange and unexpected physiological changes in our bodies.
As we grow, a disruptive moment causes shock when we see acné in our faces for the first time or experience our teeth seeming crooked, which causes aversion.
But, one of these physiological changes might pass inadvertently. Indeed, wisdom teeth, as their name implies, mark a transition to adulthood, meaning making mature decisions, or at least that is what it implies.
Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to sprout, and they appear between ages 17 to 25. For a clearer picture, ancient humans used to have more prominent jaws, allowing them to eat big chunks of hard foods like raw meats. So, they also needed more teeth to triturate these foods.
As time passed, humans started eating softer foods, making having a large maxilla and mandible unnecessary. As the mandible and maxilla shrunk, so did its space capacity for holding third molars in a straight position.
Surprisingly, some humans don’t develop wisdom teeth anymore, but others do. However, the odd part of this story is that, in some cases, patients might only develop some of them.
Moreover, some people have enough space for third molars to sprout, but there are cases in which teeth mature, having fully developed roots, but they remain below the gums or sprout partially.
Wisdom teeth that have either of those characteristics might become a cause of concern. Here we explain the cases of consideration, how these teeth classify, and some tips for managing problematic wisdom teeth.
What Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
Impacted wisdom teeth are fully developed teeth with mature roots that have little or no space to erupt. Some teeth remain below the gums within the alveolar bone. Other teeth erupt partially above the gums. In both cases, they grow at odd angles.
Impacted teeth that don’t break through the gums are imperceptible. So sometimes patients ignore they have these teeth until they visit a dentist or require Everett orthodontic treatment, and the specialist suggests they obtain an X-ray.
In most circumstances, specialists don’t recommend wisdom teeth extractions unless they cause discomfort or consider they might trigger problems in the future. For this reason, it is imperious to see a specialist to evaluate existing or foreseeable future problems.
For instance, some partially erupted wisdom teeth form a spot with a high propensity for food particle accumulation that could become a breeding environment for bacteria colonization.
How Do You Classify Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
Before discussing the problems impacted wisdom teeth might cause, we must check on their classification to widen the panorama of the affection levels.
According to the Angulation of the Teeth
These descriptions use a reference object which is the second molar, to distinguish an angle according to its direction, and occurrence frequency, being the first case the most frequent, and so on. So, let’s take a look at them:
Angled forward and towards the second molar.
Have a typical orientation similar to the rest of the teeth in the arch. The orientation is with the occlusal portion facing its counterpart in the opposing jaw.
This impaction type is also known as traverse, as it intersects the second molar at a straight angle. For better reference, the tooth is lying on its side.
Wisdom teeth that grow angled towards the back of the mouth.
Gummy Tissue and Bony Wisdom Teeth Impactions
A critical annotation is that the previous classification occurs in combination with the types of impactions we detail as follows:
Gummy Tissue Impaction
The crown of the teeth, which is the upper part with which we chew food, passed the bone threshold but hasn’t passed through the gum tissue or broken partially through the gummy tissue. This means it hasn’t fully penetrated it. This typology is known as partially erupted impacted wisdom teeth.
Bony Tissue Impaction
The tooth remains below the gums and lying within the jawbone. Bony tissue impaction also divides into complete full-bony impaction, where the tooth is entirely embedded into the bone tissue, and partial-bony impaction refers to a case where the tooth passes, to a certain degree, through the bone.
What Problems Impacted Teeth Cause?
Wisdom teeth might cause several dental problems, requiring the extraction of one or all third molars. In addition, depending on the specialist’s evaluation, she might refer you to an oral surgeon for surgery to extract teeth for actual or preventive causes. Here we list some of the potential risks of impacted wisdom teeth.
Tooth Decay, Cavities, and Gum Disease
Wisdom teeth might sprout, forming irregular shapes and angled spots that are hard to clean. Moreover, flossing is challenging, making these teeth prone to bacteria accumulation, producing tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease on wisdom and adjacent teeth.
A mesial and gummy tissue impacted wisdom tooth tends to form a flap of gummy tissue above the tooth crown named gingival operculum. Food residues accumulate in the space that forms between the tooth and the flap producing an infection of the gummy tissue that affects the surrounding gums.
Sprouting wisdom teeth might produce fluid-filled sacs known as cysts that could damage the roots of nearby teeth and might reach the bone affecting it.
When Does a Specialist Recommend Wisdom Teeth Extraction?
In some cases, wisdom teeth cause pain, or they might be already compromised with aggressive tooth decay or developed caries that could spread to the second molar and gums. Also, a specialist could evaluate the teeth’ potential of developing problems and recommend extraction as a preventive measure.
From an orthodontic perspective, Everett Orthodontics might recommend a third molar extraction to free space to move other teeth, especially when teeth are crowded. Moreover, wisdom teeth do not exert enough strain to move other teeth. So, we don’t recommend extractions for this cause.
Your Emergency Orthodontics Everett might recommend impacted wisdom teeth extractions for emergency reasons before starting orthodontic treatment.
When Can I Brush My Teeth After Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
You can resume brushing your teeth the day after a wisdom teeth removal surgery. Gently brush your teeth and avoid touching the suture for at least 3 to 5 days.
What to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Extraction?
Patients must avoid chewing or biting after surgery. Instead, we recommend a liquid diet or blended soft foods. Also, patients must avoid using a straw as the muscle force exerted by the absorption might produce the stitches to open and might derive in an infection of the wound.
To reduce facial swelling, patients might place an ice pack on the cheek in the rear part of the jaw next to the surgery area and take the prescription medication as recommended by the oral maxillofacial surgeon. Remember to avoid physical activity and drink lots of water.
Will My Teeth Shift After Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
No, your teeth won’t move after the removal of wisdom teeth.
What Is the Wisdom Teeth Extraction Recovery Time?
Wisdom tooth removal is a minimally invasive procedure. Most patients can return to work or their normal activities after resting for an hour after surgery. However, every patient reacts differently to surgical interventions and the type of anesthesia used, so in fewer cases, they might need to rest for a day before returning to their daily activities.
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