Third molars, more commonly known as wisdom teeth, are the teeth that form at the very back of the mouth. Most people get theirs between the ages of 17 and 25, but because the human jaw has shrunk over time, there’s little room for them. As a result, teeth may grow in at odd angles and only partially break through the gum surface, if they erupt at all. Wisdom teeth removal may be necessary to prevent damage to the other teeth and eliminate other painful symptoms caused by the partially or totally impacted teeth.
Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
An impacted wisdom tooth is a molar that only partially erupts through the gum tissue or is completely trapped within the jawbone. In either case, impaction can cause painful symptoms, including:
- Swollen and bleeding gums around the impacted tooth
- Jaw pain, swelling, and occasional difficulty opening and closing the mouth
- Gum disease and tooth decay resulting from inadequate oral hygiene
- Infection, which can cause pain, fever, and bad breath
In addition to the above symptoms, impacted wisdom teeth can also crowd your other permanent teeth, which can shift them out of alignment. This creates the need for orthodontic treatment to restore the teeth to their proper position. Symptoms are not always apparent, especially early on, so it’s important to see your dentist for regular checkups and X-rays, which can detect an impacted tooth.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth Removal
If you’re experiencing painful symptoms, your dentist may recommend wisdom tooth removal by a skilled oral surgeon. Oral surgery is necessary to remove impacted teeth. The surgeon will administer anesthesia, so you won’t feel anything and remember very little during the procedure. Then, they make an incision in the gums and remove any bone blocking the tooth. Depending on the size of the tooth, they may cut it into pieces for easier, less traumatic removal.
Once the impacted molar has been removed, the incision is closed up, typically with dissolvable sutures. To aid in the clotting process and limit bleeding, gauze is placed in the empty socket. Once alert following your wisdom tooth removal, the oral surgeon will provide detailed instructions for post-surgical care, including when to take pain medications, how to keep the area clean, and what to eat and drink and what to avoid. Recovery from surgical wisdom teeth removal typically takes a few days.
If you’re experiencing any symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth, make an appointment to see your dentist. In the event that wisdom teeth removal is recommended, turn to Oral Surgery Associates of Alaska in Anchorage. You can feel confident entrusting your oral surgery to their experienced and knowledgeable oral surgeons. Whether you need teeth extraction, dental implants, or jaw surgery, they’ll handle your procedure with a high level of care and precision. Call (907) 561-1430 to schedule an appointment and visit their website for more information.