Impacted wisdom teeth are a problem for many people — roughly 90% of the population, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. And unfortunately, little can be done to prevent it.
Wisdom teeth typically become impacted when there isn’t enough space in the mouth for them to develop and emerge properly. The good news is, you don’t really need your third molars. And if you end up facing wisdom tooth impaction, treatment is available here at Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.
Signs of Wisdom Tooth Impaction
Most of the time, impacted wisdom teeth make themselves known. Tooth impaction usually comes with troubling symptoms, and if your third molars are trapped in the gums, you may notice any or all these warning signs:
- Pain near the back of your mouth
- Swelling, redness and tenderness in your gums
- Difficulty opening your mouth widely
- Headaches and earaches
- A persistent bad taste and foul breath
Types of Wisdom Tooth Impaction
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons classify wisdom tooth impactions based upon how the third molars are positioned. The four different types include:
With a mesial or mesio-angular impaction, the tooth is angled toward the front of the mouth, pushing up against the second molar.
A vertical impaction is one where the tooth is coming in relatively close to the proper angle, but remains stuck in the gums or jawbone.
In the case of a horizontal or traverse impaction, the tooth is growing sideways, toward the second molar and parallel to the jawbone.
With a distal or disto-angular impaction, the tooth is angled toward the back of the mouth, leaning away from the second molar.
Removing Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons often take a proactive approach to preserving oral health — and while some impacted wisdom teeth pose no immediate problems, removal is the typical treatment. The difficulty of the procedure depends upon where the third molars currently lie. Tooth impactions fall into one of these categories:
- Soft-tissue impacted, where the crown of the wisdom tooth has penetrated the bone tissues but is unable to push through the gums
- Partial-bony impacted, where the third molar has begun to emerge from within the jawbone but has become stuck
- Full-bony impacted, where the wisdom tooth is completely encased within the jaw and cannot break through the bone tissues
Removing wisdom teeth that are partially or fully impacted in the jawbone is more of a challenge than extracting teeth that are stuck in the gums. But in every situation, dealing with tooth impaction requires knowledge, skill and experience.
In the greater east central Indiana area, the professional team at Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery are the go-to experts for both routine and complex wisdom teeth removal procedures. We’ve been helping patients throughout the region for over a decade, and we’re committed to providing the highest level of care. Contact our office and schedule a consultation to discuss treatment for impacted wisdom teeth today.