Wisdom teeth only appear between the ages of 16 and 25 and are the final set of molars to grow through the gums. Many adults grow four wisdom teeth, but it is not uncommon to have fewer (hypodontia) or more (supernumerary teeth). These adults often need to have removal procedure known as wisdom teeth extraction.
Healthy and well aligned wisdom teeth are valuable assets. In most cases, however, wisdom teeth grow in sideways and become impacted against the adjacent teeth. This prevents them to emerge fully and properly, which can be painful and problematic and in most cases call for extraction.
Impacted wisdom tooth most often requires removal and failure to do so causes crooked teeth, jaw main, and sometimes, sinus dysfunction. It is important that a wisdom tooth be removed when it has no room in the mouth to grow.
Watch out for symptoms like pain, swelling of the face, infection in the mouth, and swelling of the gum line at the back of the mouth, which may indicate that your wisdom tooth has surfaced, but must be removed before becoming impacted. Immediate removal of the wisdom tooth is highly recommended so as not to cause any more problems with adjacent teeth.
Impacted wisdom teeth tend to destroy the second molar and cause many other potential complications. Impaction of the wisdom teeth fall in to 4 general categories, the most common of which is Mesioangular compaction, in which the tooth is angled forward.
Vertical impaction is the second most common form, occurring in 38% of adults. This happens when the tooth does not emerge fully through the gum line.
Distoangular impaction is the opposite of the first, where in the tooth is angled backward, while Horizontal impaction occurs when the tooth is angled a full 90 degrees sideways, affecting the roots of the second molar.
Potential Complications Following Extraction of the Wisdom Teeth
There are two rare, but important complications to consider when having your wisdom teeth removed. This includes paresthesia and dry socket.
Parasthesia is the numbness of the tongue, chin, or lip that lasts anywhere between a few days, weeks, months, and sometimes permanently after the extraction of a wisdom tooth. When the wisdom tooth is entrapped in the jawbone and close to the nerves, removal of the impacted teeth may cause them to bruise and be damaged, thus resulting to prolonged numbness that may even persist permanently.
Dry socket occurs when blood in the extracted tooth socket fails to clit or the blood clot becomes dislodged. This delays the healing process, and the complication persists up to 3 or 4 days following the extraction.
This is accompanied by dull to severe pain and foul mouth odor. The socket will heal and recover with time. A second trip to your dentist will help you speed up the process. Treatment involves rinsing the inflamed socket and placing a sedative dressing to soothe the inflammation and promote healing.