Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, typically emerge between the ages of 17 and 25. While some individuals may have enough space in their mouths for these teeth to come in properly, many people experience impacted wisdom teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth occur when there isn't enough room for them to fully emerge or develop normally.
What Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth? How Do They Differ From Non-Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
Impacted wisdom teeth are teeth that are unable to fully break through the gums. They can be partially impacted, where only a portion of the tooth is visible, or fully impacted, where the tooth remains trapped beneath the gum line. Non-impacted wisdom teeth, on the other hand, are able to erupt normally without causing any issues.
When impacted, wisdom teeth can cause a range of problems. They can push against neighboring teeth, causing crowding or misalignment. They can also become trapped in the jawbone, leading to infection, cysts, or damage to nearby structures such as nerves or the jawbone itself.
Potential Complications of Untreated Impacted Wisdom Teeth
If left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth can lead to a variety of complications. One common issue is the development of gum disease. Because impacted teeth are difficult to clean properly, bacteria and plaque can accumulate around them, leading to inflammation and infection.
Another potential complication is the formation of cysts or tumors. When a wisdom tooth is impacted, a sac of fluid can form around it, resulting in the development of a cyst. If left untreated, these cysts can grow and cause damage to the jawbone or neighboring teeth.
The Impact on Adjacent Teeth and Oral Health
Impacted wisdom teeth can also have a negative impact on adjacent teeth. As they try to push their way through the gums, they can exert pressure on the surrounding teeth, causing crowding or shifting. This can lead to misalignment, bite problems, and the need for orthodontic treatment.
In addition to the impact on adjacent teeth, impacted wisdom teeth can contribute to overall oral health issues. The difficulty in cleaning around these teeth can lead to an increased risk of cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.
The Importance of Removing Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Given the potential complications and risks associated with impacted wisdom teeth, it is generally recommended to have them removed. By removing impacted wisdom teeth, you can prevent future problems and maintain optimal oral health.
The extraction process is typically performed by an oral surgeon under local or general anesthesia, ensuring your comfort throughout the procedure. After the extraction, you may experience some swelling and discomfort, but these symptoms are temporary and can be managed with proper care and medication.
Reach Out and Request an Appointment
If you suspect you have impacted wisdom teeth or have been advised by your dentist to have them removed, don't delay in seeking treatment. At Alexandria Oral Surgery, our experienced oral surgeons, Dr. Jeffrey Rothman and Dr. Vincent Nguyen, specialize in wisdom teeth extraction and are dedicated to providing exceptional care.
Call (703) 370-3012 today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards maintaining a healthy and beautiful smile. Don't let impacted wisdom teeth cause unnecessary complications - let our skilled team help you achieve optimal oral health.