Impacted wisdom tooth are the third molars at the back of the mouth that do not have enough space to develop or emerge normally. They result in damage to other teeth, pain and other dental problems. In few cases these teeth may not cause any apparent problems but they are hard to clean and are more vulnerable to gum disease and tooth decay compared to other teeth.
Causes: The main causes for impacted tooth are as follows:
- Wisdom tooth becomes impacted when they do not have enough space to develop normally.
- An impacted wisdom tooth may partially emerge where the crown will be visible (partially impacted) or it never break through the gums (fully impacted).
- A partially impacted tooth can trap plaque, food and other debris in the soft tissue present around it which can lead to tenderness of gums, inflammation and unpleasant mouth odor.
- The retained plaque, debris may lead to the decay of neighboring tooth or wisdom tooth.
- Impacted tooth pushes on next tooth which in turn pushes the next tooth eventually causing misalignment of the bite.
Symptoms: Impacted-wisdom-tooth when infected and damages other teeth show certain signs and symptoms such as:
- Bad breath
- Prolonged jaw ache or head ache
- Tenderness or pain of the jaw bone or gums
- Difficulty in opening the mouth
- Swelling or redness of the gums around the impacted tooth
- Swollen lymph nodes of the neck (seen occasionally) etc.
- Formation of cysts: Wisdom tooth develops in a sac within the jawbone. This sac can fill with fluid thus forming a cyst that can damage the nerves, jawbone and teeth. This complication requires the removal of bone and tissue.
- Gum disease: The difficulty in cleaning the partially emerged wisdom tooth increases the risk of developing inflammatory, painful gum condition called pericoronitis in that area.
- Damage to neighboring teeth: In case where the wisdom tooth pushes the second molars it may damage or increase the risk of infection in that particular area. The pressure developed can also cause complications with crowding of the other teeth or may require orthodontic treatment for straightening other teeth.
- Tooth decay: Partially impacted teeth will be more prone to tooth decay than other teeth.
- No treatment is needed if the impacted tooth is not causing any problems.
- Pain relievers helps if the impacted tooth causes any discomfort.
- Extracting one’s tooth is one treatment if the impacted tooth cause pain or infects/ interferes with the neighboring teeth.
- Before removing the tooth, the patient will be made understand regarding the sedatives and anesthetics that will be used by the dentist or surgeon.
- The patient is recommended not to eat at least 6 hours before surgery.
- After the surgical treatment the patient may have swelling of jaw and cheeks.