One of the biggest issues we deal with at Southwest Oral Surgery in Glendale, AZ is impacted wisdom teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth are incredibly common. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), 9 out 10 people will have at least one impacted wisdom tooth.
Wisdom teeth are your third molars that typically come in between the ages of 17 and 25. The primary reason that wisdom teeth become impacted is because they are trying to grow into a mouth that is simply too small. When there isn’t enough room, the teeth can’t break through the gum tissue. A tooth that is stuck beneath the gum tissue or only partially emerged is referred to as “impacted.”
If your dentist is recommending removal of your wisdom teeth but the teeth have not caused you any pain or trouble, you may be wondering why this is necessary. Unfortunately, just because you are not feeling any pain – yet – doesn’t mean that trouble isn’t brewing just beneath the surface of your gums.
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a number of serious dental problems down the road. Depending on the angle of the impacted tooth, it may be putting pressure on your other teeth, which can lead to shifting and crowding in your mouth (which will eventually make brushing and flossing difficult and increasing your risk of cavities and gum disease). This crowding is also linked to clenching and grinding disorders, which can cause erosion and fractures. Additionally, an impacted wisdom tooth is difficult to clean, inviting decay and bacterial infections. If the tooth has partially emerged, you have an open area in your mouth that can easily become infected, which can eventually lead to systemic infection and tooth loss.
From our standpoint, one of the most concerning complications of impacted wisdom teeth is the increased risk of developing oral cysts. These fluid-filled pockets form around the base of your impacted tooth. As they grow, they actually cause hollow areas in the jaw and eventually damage the surrounding teeth, nerves, and other structures. Even scarier, these cysts can develop into oral cancer, a dangerous and deadly disease. If you have an oral cyst, we strongly recommend a biopsy to determine the status of the cyst.
If you have impacted wisdom teeth and have been putting off extraction, please don’t panic. The majority of these cysts are benign. Call us to schedule an appointment so that we can assess your situation and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Like the AAOMS, we do recommend that all young adults have an evaluation of their wisdom teeth by an experienced dentist or oral surgeon to look for any signs of pending impaction or disease and plan for treatment accordingly.
If you’re one of the lucky 10% whose wisdom teeth come in without any trouble, that’s fantastic! Congratulations! If you’re among the 90% who do develop impacted wisdom teeth, however, call our office at (623) 792-5794 to schedule an appointment at our Glendale oral surgery practice to determine the best route to take to avoid complications like oral cysts and keep your mouth comfortable and healthy.
Tags: wisdom tooth extraction