Impacted wisdom tooth
Incisive BiteSunday, September 05, 2021
by Dr Sharon Robinson
A wisdom tooth is known as the third molar tooth that is located to the back of the other molars. So, in other words, they're two wisdom teeth at the top and two wisdom teeth at the bottom, making it one on each side.
Your wisdom tooth can begin to erupt at the age of 17 or older, sometimes even younger. These wisdom teeth can erupt one by one or at the same time. They are also the last teeth within your dentition to erupt.
What can cause the tooth to be impacted?
Due to the positioning of each tooth in the mouth, there is no room for the wisdom tooth to erupt properly, therefore, the wisdom tooth can be structured horizontally (to be structured sideways), vertically (straight but leaning somewhat towards the second molar), mesially (leaning forward applying force to the second molar, and disally (leaning away from the second molar). For some people, too, their wisdom tooth can be partially erupted — that is, it erupts but is below the gum line so the tooth is not fully out. The structure of your wisdom teeth can sometimes contribute to the misalignment of your other teeth.
On the other hand, some individuals may have partially erupted wisdom teeth that can develop a cavity — ranging from mild to severe — and this can cause damage to the second molar, resulting in the second molar developing a cavity as well, which can lead to the extraction of the second molar. However, I must say, people are fortunate to have wisdom teeth that erupt perfectly fine.
How would I know if I have an impacted wisdom tooth?
Signs and symptoms can be little to none when you have an impacted wisdom tooth, but some of the symptoms can be pain and inflammation of the gums that support the tooth. The pain can develop due to the tooth erupting and space being forcibly made; oftentimes, this can be a radiation of pain that can have you believing that another tooth is causing the pain. Orajel can be used to decrease the level of pain that is being felt.
In relation to inflammation of the gums that support the tooth because the tooth is not being cleaned properly and food is trapped in the area, causing bacteria to generate, swelling of the gums can occur. Gently brushing the area can help to remove the trapped food and using warm salt water can also help with the inflammation. It is important to be very cautious with this area. Another method is by having your dentist do an examination and an X-ray; the X-ray can show how the tooth is structured.
Treating with a wisdom tooth
The wisdom tooth is usually treated by a surgical extraction, which is the removal of the tooth. This procedure is pretty straightforward, but it is important to note that not all wisdom teeth need to be extracted. Some wisdom teeth erupt perfectly fine and are free from decay; these wisdom teeth are considered free from extraction but once the tooth is decayed, impacted, infected, resulting in pain, or affecting your adjacent tooth, extraction is your first option.
Don't act too late.
Dr Sharon Robinson, DDS has offices at Dental Place Cosmetix Spa, located at shop #5, Winchester Business Centre, 15 Hope Road, Kingston 10. Dr Robinson is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Technology, Jamaica, School of Oral Health Sciences. She may be contacted at 876-630-4710. Like their Facebook page, Dental Place Cosmetix Spa.