Wisdom teeth become impacted when they erupt partially or get stuck underneath the gums and push against the surrounding teeth.
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars, and they usually erupt during early adulthood. Due to jaw shrinkage, however, wisdom teeth often don’t have enough room to erupt, which can lead to crowding and infections.
Initially, many experts blamed the shrinking of the human jaw on evolution, but recent studies show that many humans had bigger jaws and healthier teeth only a few hundred years ago.
Softer foods neither challenge jaw muscles nor encourage jawbone growth, and they could be contributing to the cause of shrinking jaws. Diets low in calcium and vitamin K2 might also contribute to this issue.
If you do have impacted wisdom teeth, read on. Below, our experts here at Mosaic Dental in Sterling, Virginia, explain the dangers of impacted wisdom teeth and discuss procedures that are available to relieve your symptoms.
Symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth
Impacted wisdom teeth may cause pain, inflammation, and redness near the area where the tooth attempts (but fails) to break through the gum tissue. In rare cases, impacted wisdom teeth result in bad breath and an unpleasant taste, two symptoms that may indicate an infection.
Impacted wisdom teeth complications
If you’re experiencing symptoms, our experts may recommend an X-ray to detect the position of the wisdom teeth. Left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth may increase your risk for plaque and tooth decay, as impacted teeth are more difficult to clean.
Impacted teeth sometimes put pressure on the surrounding teeth, causing them to shift. Other complications include infections of the gum flap above the wisdom tooth and the development of cysts on the gum tissue surrounding the wisdom tooth.
Treating impacted wisdom teeth
If your impacted wisdom teeth are causing unpleasant symptoms, you can have them removed surgically.
During the procedure, our experts administer an anesthetic for your comfort and make a small incision in your gum to remove the impacted wisdom tooth. The procedure takes 30-60 minutes, depending on how many wisdom teeth you’re having removed.
Unless you experience complications, you probably won’t need a follow-up office visit. However, you do need someone to drive you home after the procedure, as the anesthetic temporarily impacts your driving ability.
At Mosaic Dental, we can help you determine if your wisdom teeth are impacted, and we can surgically remove them if necessary. Call our office or schedule your appointment online.