Most people don’t have enough room in their mouth for their third molars, also known as wisdom teeth. Quite often, these teeth lead to a dental emergency. If you find yourself or your child in this position, contact Beachside Smiles in Manhattan Beach immediately to find out if wisdom tooth extraction is necessary.

Dental Emergency: Impacted Wisdom Teeth

The Wisdom Tooth Extraction Process

Some wisdom teeth develop without any trouble. Their development is carefully monitored and they are removed at a scheduled time and place, so they don’t interfere with a person’s oral health or cause any discomfort.

Other wisdom teeth threaten to wreak havoc on your whole mouth, erupting in unpleasant ways and causing serious complications. Some of the most common signs of impacted wisdom teeth include:

  • Pain or tenderness
  • Swollen and red gums
  • Chronic headache or jaw ache
  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste in the mouth

Left unattended, impacted wisdom teeth can lead to tooth decay, damage, crowding, misalignment, and infection. Many a former orthodontic patient has found themselves with a smile that seems to reverse itself when wisdom teeth are given the chance to push things out of alignment.

The Definition of an Impacted Wisdom Tooth

We already know our evolved mouths don’t have room for four extra molars, but what does it mean for a wisdom tooth to become impacted?

  • Wisdom teeth develop under the gumline, just like every other tooth, but they do not often erupt properly in a vertical position. Sometimes they don’t erupt at all.
  • A wisdom tooth may erupt partially and get caught beneath the gumline or in the jaw.
  • In some cases, the wisdom tooth does not erupt at all but develops incorrectly and settles into a diagonal or horizontal position under the gums. This makes the wisdom tooth push against your permanent second molars.

Whatever the circumstances, an impacted wisdom tooth causes pain and oral health problems – and the issues can only be corrected with wisdom tooth extraction.

The Wisdom Tooth Extraction Process

Wisdom tooth extraction is different than general tooth extraction. The procedure is carried out under general anesthesia either at your dentist’s office or an outpatient clinic. The complexity and urgency of your case will influence these choices but the general procedure goes something like this:

  • An incision exposes tooth and bone.
  • Wisdom tooth and roots are extracted in pieces until fully removed.
  • Remaining debris is cleaned meticulously.
  • The socket is stitched shut.
  • Blood flow is staunched with gauze.

Patients need an escort to get them safely home and several days of recovery will be required, along with a few weeks of taking it easy. Instructions for pain management, tending to the wound, and eating will be provided to expedite healing.

Don’t Wait for a Dental Emergency to Get Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Most people never have to worry about their wisdom teeth and the problems they can cause because these four molars are removed long before they are ready to erupt from the gums. The typical removal timeline is during the late teen years or early adulthood, after any orthodontic treatment is complete.

If you or your child opts not to have wisdom tooth extraction done, impacted wisdom teeth are always a possibility, with the teeth trying to erupt and struggling because there simply isn’t enough room. If your Manhattan Beach dentist strongly recommends having wisdom teeth removed, listen. The fallout from allowing unnecessary teeth to erupt could be painful and costly.

Are you experiencing pain or any of the symptoms mentioned above? Have your wisdom teeth begun to erupt in a bad way? Contact Beachside Smiles right away to find out if you need emergency dental care and an immediate wisdom tooth extraction.

Wisdom teeth are sometimes referred to as third molars. They are additional teeth that our ancestors needed to help them manage their diets, but teeth that we no longer require to manage our modern eating habits. Our mouths have evolved and gotten smaller, but wisdom teeth have stuck around in the upper and lower jaws and they must be dealt with before they cause problems like:

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