What happens when wisdom teeth become impacted? 

When inadequate space in your jaws prevents the back molars or wisdom teeth from erupting, they can become impacted (see below). Impaction occurs when the tooth is positioned against another tooth, bone, or soft tissue. Impacted teeth are unable to erupt through the gum into the proper position, prohibiting healthy, normal functions. This is a common problem, affecting approximately 75% of the population.

There are three common classifications of impactions. Soft Tissue, Partial Bony, and Complete Bony:

  • Soft Tissue Impaction: There is not enough room to allow the gum tissue to retract for adequate cleaning of the tooth.
  • Partial Bony Impaction: There is enough space to allow the wisdom tooth to partially erupt. However, the tooth cannot function properly in the chewing process and creates cleaning problems, among others.
  • Complete Bony Impaction: There is NO space for the tooth to erupt. It remains embedded in the jaw bone or if even partially visible requires complex surgical techniques for removal. The impacted wisdom tooth may also be in an unusual position and difficult to remove. This situation can also arise when the shape or size of the jaw bone and other facial structures make removal of this tooth significantly more complex.

What Can You Expect with Wisdom Teeth Treatment?

A consultation is necessary to determine if you or your child will benefit from wisdom tooth removal. With an oral examination and x-rays of the jaws, our surgeons are able to fully evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and determine if the teeth need to be removed. A special x-ray of your mouth and jaws will be taken to determine if your wisdom teeth are impacted, if there is room for them to erupt, and how difficult it will be to have them removed. 

It is recommended that parents of teens have their children evaluated before the age of 16, as optimal results are achieved at these early stages, before the teeth have a chance to fully develop. Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a superior outcome for the patient. Patients are generally first evaluated in the early teenage years, even before the teeth erupt into the mouth.

If you or your child has experienced pain or other issues regarding wisdom teeth, we invite you to schedule a consultation with either Dr. Reynolds or Dr. Gresehover now. We promise a safe, sterile and friendly environment, where your health and comfort is always a priority. 

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Wisdom Teeth FAQs