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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WISDOM TEETH - Dr. Samuel

April 24 2021

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WISDOM TEETH - Dr. Samuel

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last teeth that come into the mouth in the adult dentition. Usually, there are four of them located far behind in the ultimate position of your jawbones. 

For years now, they have been called wisdom teeth because they first appear during the wisdom age, between 17 and 25. 

Furthermore, wisdom teeth are the most changing teeth in our mouths, having different shapes, anatomy, and forms. Therefore, although most people have four of these molars functioning correctly, sometimes they can cause discomfort and other oral problems. When these molars don't show up properly, we call them impacted wisdom teeth. 

Why Do Wisdom Teeth Get Impacted?

Although properly erupted wisdom teeth are helpful to eat and chew adequately, impacted molars can be the reason for multiple sorts of discomfort, pain, and other consequences. 

Currently, there are two main reasons for impacted wisdom teeth:

- When there is not enough space in your jaw for them to grow and come to the surface.

- When they come up in the wrong positions, crashing with other teeth and getting trapped.

First, the lack of space in our jawbones is a developmental tendency as humans have been evolving their bone structures to adapt to the current diet. As a result, we have been developing more small jaws and teeth, leaving the last molars without space to come out. 

On the other hand, teeth can erupt in odd positions, sometimes bent, twisted, rotated, or even inverted, avoiding their eruption into the mouth or crashing with neighbor teeth. 

Finally, another crucial reason for the usual discomfort associated with wisdom teeth (during puberty) is their position and close relationship with the jaw angle and essential structures like nerves and arteries.  

wisdom teeth impaction

What Are the Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

In some cases, impacted wisdom teeth can pass inadvertent without symptoms when the tooth gets trapped in the gums without clashing against other teeth. However, most times, wisdom teeth can produce multiple oral problems, including the following:

- The gums can get red and swollen.

- The gums around them can get sensitive and bleed at the touch. 

- They can cause teeth or jaw pain that extends to the ear or face.

- If they are in the wrong position, they can accumulate food, inducing bacteria fermentation and causing caries and bad breath. 

- If they have not erupted completely or half of the way, they can hinder your hygiene and cause mild pain. 

- They can cause teeth crowding. 

Additionally, in chronic cases, they can cause infections or abscesses that can produce cysts. Furthermore, if these problems persist, they can induce jaw stiffness, difficulties opening the mouth, and bone affection. 

How to Relieve The Wisdom Teeth Problem?

To manage the pain and discomfort associated with an impacted wisdom tooth, experts recommend using pain killers, cold compresses, or anti-inflammatory prescription drugs. However, in severe cases, you might require using antibiotics or having your wisdom tooth removed through surgery. 

Each case is different. Therefore, you must go to a regular check-up with your dentist and undergo a complete examination that could include some x-rays. With proper monitoring, the professional can keep track of your wisdom teeth development, avoiding further problems. 

 

--- By Dr. Samuel I A Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S) from Central University of Venezuela. He is also the Member of the National College of Dental Surgeon of Venezuela. Boasts almost 10 years experience in general dentistry.

 

References:

- Dodson, T. B., & Susarla, S. M. (2010). Impacted wisdom teeth. In BMJ clinical evidence.

- Eng, R. (2009). Third Molar Surgery: A Review of Current Controversies in Prophylactic Removal of Wisdom Teeth. In Oral health.

- Mettes, T. (Dirk) G., Ghaeminia, H., Nienhuijs, M. EL, Perry, J., van der Sanden, W. J., & Plasschaert, A. (2012). Surgical removal versus retention for the management of asymptomatic impacted wisdom teeth. In Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.cd003879.pub3

- Renton, T., & Wilson, N. H. F. (2016). Problems with erupting wisdom teeth: Signs, symptoms, and management. In British Journal of General Practice. https://doi.org/10.3399/bjgp16X686509

- Richards, D. (2000). Management of unerupted and impacted third molar teeth. A National Clinical Guideline. Evidence-Based Dentistry. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ebd.6400030

- Singh, H., Lee, K., & Ayoub, A. F. (1996). Management of asymptomatic impacted wisdom teeth: a multicentre comparison. British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 34(5), 389–393. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0266-4356(96)90093-5

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