Wisdom teeth, while technically the third molars, are a significant part of the human dentition. They often cause health problems, especially when trapped in the gum. Impacted wisdom teeth cause severe pain, infections, and misalignment in other teeth.
The problem is commonly resolved with the extraction of the impacted wisdom tooth. These cases number more than 5 million patients in the U.S. per year.
What You Need to Know
Wisdom teeth form in early adulthood ss the last set of molars at the back of your mouth. However, age is not the only predisposing factor for the development of impacted teeth. Having a small jaw structure contributes, too. As a result, a wisdom tooth often lacks adequate room to grow through the gum and becomes stuck. This leads to becoming impacted.
Also, a wisdom tooth may become impacted when it has an improper angulation. Actually, there are four types of teeth impactions, mesial, distal, vertical, and horizontal.
- Mesial or mesioangular impaction. It is associated with a forward angular orientation toward the front of the mouth. It the most common form of tooth impaction.
- Vertical impaction. This involves the abnormal orientation of the tooth, which is relatively similar to normal orientation.
- Horizontal impaction. This presents as the sideways alignment of the tooth.
- Distal impaction. Manifests as a distoangular impaction of the teeth, tilted towards the back of the mouth.
In addition, tooth impaction is diagnosed in relation to bone and tissues affected. Specifically, soft tissues of the gum or the jawbone.
- Soft Tissue Impaction: This results from the eruption of the wisdom tooth’s crown through the bone but failing to penetrate the gum tissue.
- Bony/Hard Tissue Impaction: It occurs when the wisdom teeth are stuck within the jawbone and they fail to grow further. However, this can manifest in one of two ways. The first is partial-bony impaction, where the teeth are partially encased in the bone. The second is full-bony impaction when the teeth are fully covered by the bone.
Moreover, an impacted wisdom tooth is prone to diseases, particularly tooth decay, gum disease, cysts, cavities, and abscesses.
The removal of impacted wisdom teeth is routinely performed as a preventative measure against complications. A certified oral surgeon will evaluate whether non-surgical treatment is suitable before proceeding with extraction. The option for non-surgical care for an impacted wisdom tooth is recommended for young adults. This usually avoids extraction in cases where it may not be needed.
Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Impacted teeth are not always symptomatic; however, they present clear symptoms in some cases.
An impacted wisdom tooth may break through gums, but part of the gum is exposed. This results in partially impacted teeth. Such teeth lead to the entrapment of food, making it difficult to brush and floss.
Also, wisdom teeth that are impacted are associated with the following manifestations:
- Swelling of the jaw region
- Bleeding and swollen gums
- Bad odor
- Repulsive taste in the mouth
- Difficulties with opening the mouth
Pain in the gum or the jaw region may be a sign of impacted teeth. An X-ray scan is necessary for accurate diagnosis of fully impacted wisdom teeth that never grow through the gums. If a case of impaction of wisdom teeth is confirmed, then oral surgery is an appropriate solution by removing the impacted tooth.
The Treatment of an Impacted Wisdom Tooth
With the advancement of technology in dentistry, oral surgeons in Leesburg, Central Florida like Dr. Christopher Johnson D.M.D. offer cutting-edge oral surgery services that involve wisdom tooth removal and oral implants.
From potential crowding of the neighboring teeth, to decay and difficult flossing, early treatment is the best option and delivers the best results for dental health.
For severe cases of impacted wisdom teeth, oral surgery, namely wisdom teeth extraction will be administered. The procedure involves sedation, with either local anesthesia, general anesthesia, or sedation anesthesia.
Local anesthesia will only numb the mouth to block pain. Both general and sedation anesthesia block the pain and relax the body during the operation, but general anesthesia renders the patient unconscious.
During the operation, the oral surgeon makes a cut in the gum and removes the ill bone before extracting the impacted tooth. Next, the surgeon closes the incision with stitches and covers the space with gauze. The procedure lasts between 30 minutes and one hour. However, in complex cases that involve impacted teeth buried deep in the gum or jawbone, the extraction procedure may take longer.
Recovery from the Extraction of Wisdom Teeth
Oral surgery for the removal of impacted teeth has a significant impact on the patient, and it becomes difficult to open the mouth and eat in the first week after the procedure. Soft foods are recommended during this period.
On the one hand, there is mild pain, swelling, and bleeding. However, pain medications and therapies are offered to improve the recovery process.
On the other hand, a severe dry socket may develop on the site of extraction. Although rare, this may arise when a blood clot fails to form, or is dislodged and exposes the jawbone.
How to Find the Best Oral Surgeon
An oral surgeon is highly qualified to provide surgical care for complex teeth, jaw, mouth, and face problems, which are beyond the scope of an orthodontist or general dentistry practice.
When in need of quality health care for the remedy of impacted wisdom teeth, the most reliable way to find an oral surgeon is to consult with either a qualified dentist, orthodontist, or health insurance company.
Dentists and orthodontists are resourceful professionals, and they usually have a network of other professionals, like oral surgery providers, with whom they work. A recommendation from such health professionals enhances the likelihood of meeting a qualified oral and maxillofacial surgeon within a trustworthy practice.
However, it is critical to follow up with relevant questions to verify the specialty of the oral surgeon, their background and portfolio.
Keeping Good Company
It is also wise to find out if the recommended oral surgeon is affiliated with any professional board concerning oral and maxillofacial surgery services, such as the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, or has received professional awards for their practice.
Also, practice information is an essential element in determining the legitimacy of the oral surgeon before signing up for their services. Researching the reputation of the provider and the team of the health professionals working with them also helps in identifying an excellent oral surgery provider.
Insurance providers typically maintain a rich network of medical practitioners, a wealth of information that is accessible online or by a phone call. Most insurers list all doctors in their team by specialty and indicate the location of their practice.
They also provide information regarding dental implant cost from various providers, which reveal the pricing and financing options available from insurance providers and credit sources. A qualified oral surgeon will have an existing partnership with most insurance companies and can make it much easier to deal with the red tape associated with an impacted wisdom tooth.
Why Dr. Christopher Johnson is the Right Choice to Address Wisdom Teeth Impaction
Dr. Christopher Johnson, D.M.D., is a leading oral and maxillofacial surgery specialist practicing in Leesburg, Central Florida. If you are interested in learning more about cosmetic facial procedures, orthognathic surgery, or oral surgery procedures, or removing impacted wisdom teeth, contact his office to set up a free consultation regarding the available options for your treatment.