What is meant by impacted wisdom teeth?
The teeth that get trapped either partially or completely in the tissue surrounding the teeth is known as impacted teeth. Sometimes the wisdom teeth partially penetrate through the gums failing to fully erupt into its expected form. This is referred to as impacted wisdom teeth.
What causes impacted wisdom teeth?
Impacted wisdom teeth may occur due to the following reasons:
- Lack of adequate space for complete eruption
- The impacted tooth’s path may be blocked by other existing teeth
- It’s angulations may be incorrect
It is also said that the rough nature of pre-historic man’s diet which included wild berries, roots, flesh, etc helped him acquire greater chewing-muscle growth which in turn stimulated the jawbone to accommodate more space for the upcoming wisdom tooth. But today’s modern day diet which is comparatively softer does not leave much scope for making way to welcome the new tooth.
Types of impacted wisdom teeth:
Impacted wisdom teeth can be categorized into the following subdivisions:
- Mesi angular impaction:
- Disto angular impaction: It occurs when the expected tooth is angled towards the back portion of the mouth
- Vertical impaction: This impaction happens when the teeth formed fails to erupt completely breaking through the gums.
- Horizontal impaction: It happens when the tooth is at a 90 degree angle side wards ejecting into the existing second molar tooth.
- Bony impaction: In case of an impacted tooth that is completely submerged inside the jawbone it’s called a bony impaction.
- Soft tissue impaction: If it has managed to break through the jaw bone but not via the gum it is known as soft tissue impaction.
This takes place when the tooth is angled forwards towards the front.
What can an impacted wisdom tooth do to you?
- In some cases an impacted tooth may be followed by a cyst which requires a surgery for removal. And sometimes they turn out to be malignant though rare.
- The opening in the gums surrounding the partially erupted impacted tooth can become an excellent breeding ground for bacteria to enter and multiply
- It can further cause an infection
- Impacted teeth are more vulnerable to decay and often invite gum diseases.
- Impacted teeth are hard to be brushed due to their irregular positions.
Symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth:
Symptoms are not always necessarily present in case of an impacted wisdom tooth and those who show may have very acute signs. They are called asymptomatic impacted wisdom teeth. In such cases the onset of a wisdom tooth may be revealed through an x-ray taken during regular oral checkups.
The following symptoms may be present on the onset of impacted wisdom teeth:
- Swelling and redness in the gums
- Pain in the gums or jawbone
- Tenderness and bleeding of gums
- Swelling of the jawbone
- Bad breath
- Unpleasant taste while eating
- Swelling of the glands of the neck
- Experience difficulty while opening the mouth
The following may accompany the impacted wisdom tooth without any symptoms:
- Decay around the impacted wisdom tooth but without any pain
- Root of the tooth may get destroyed
- Formation of cyst or tumor
It is advisable to have a regular dental check up at least twice a year during which an x-ray can detect the onset of wisdom tooth or impaction or other problems.