Impacted wisdom tooth or third molars normally appear during the ages of 17 to 25. Wisdom tooth is usually not needed to aid in chewing food during eating. If the wisdom teeth erupt normally and are correctly positioned a person is very lucky as it can be easily cleaned and thus don’t cause any problems. But if it does not erupt normally, it may cause infections. Types of impacted wisdom teeth that abnormally eruptions are shown below.
A study done in Singapore in 2003 found that nearly 70% of 1,000 patients aged 20 to 40 years old had at least one impacted wisdom tooth, which brings the wisdom tooth pain & the risk of infection as well as rare complications including cysts or tumors that may cause damage to the jawbone.
Let’s see an example of impacted wisdom tooth case of Mrs. Lee:
Mrs. Lee made an appointment with the dentist when she had severe toothache on her wisdom teeth. She had 3 infected wisdom teeth due to her small jawbone structure, all the impacted wisdom teeth were covered by her gums and required surgery.
Scared that her wisdom teeth removal would be painful, she had put off her visit to the dentist until her impacted wisdom teeth were severely painful and she couldn’t take it anymore.
Impacted wisdom tooth extraction with general anesthesia
Mrs. Lee wanted to remove all her impacted wisdom teeth with general anesthesia, but it was not possible because she is in her first trimester of pregnancy. As anesthesia can affect the development of the fetus’ brain and central nervous system, she had to wait until her pregnancy stabilised in the second trimester to extract her wisdom teeth.
She could have avoided all this had she removed her wisdom teeth when her dentist first detected the problem.
Like Mrs. Lee many people would put off removing their wisdom teeth until they develop symptoms, as they may fear having pain and have the belief that wisdom teeth don’t need removal if they are not causing any problems. However, there are good reasons for removing impacted wisdom teeth early rather than later to avoid infection, gum disease and wisdom tooth pain.
Complications that may arise due to impacted wisdom teeth:
- Damage to other teeth
- Gum disease
An erupted wisdom tooth can easily be removed with an extraction procedure, where the tooth is taken out after local anesthesia is administered to numb the area. In some difficult cases where the gum is covering the tooth, surgical interventional may be needed to remove the wisdom tooth. The process would involve lifting the gums covering the impacted wisdom tooth to remove the tooth. Suturing the gums is also normal to aid in the healing process.