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Wisdom teeth: To keep or remove?

Wisdom teeth are usually the last set of teeth to emerge. They can be found at the end of the oral ridges behind all the other sets of teeth. In most cases, the eruption of wisdom teeth happens without any hassle. But, in certain complicated cases, wisdom teeth tend to get stuck in between the gums and the underlying jawbone. This condition, which is termed as impacted wisdom teeth, can be highly painful and lead to the onset of infections. 

What causes an impacted wisdom tooth?

The cause of impacted wisdom teeth is usually the lack of space for the tooth to emerge fully. This could be due to reasons such as the obstruction from the adjoining teeth, the smaller dental arch that results in congestion of the teeth and insufficient room for them to erupt, etc. Sometimes, impaction also happens when the tooth sockets are small in size, causing the tooth to get stuck while erupting. No matter what the exact cause is, impacted wisdom teeth are known to be a congenital disorder.

Should impacted teeth be extracted?

All cases of impacted wisdom teeth cannot be diagnosed in the same manner and offered a generalized treatment solution. The type of impaction can briefly be categorized into three types; complete bony impaction, partial impaction, and soft tissue impaction.

Complete bony impaction:  The tooth doesn't erupt from the jawbone and stays under the gums.

Partial impaction:  The tooth partially emerges from the sockets and is visible over the gums. But, as the impaction happens, the tooth stops erupting and causes immense pain.

Soft tissue impaction:  Though the tooth almost erupts fully, it could get impacted, which results in severe pain.

Your dentist will conduct a thorough diagnosis of the impacted tooth. Based on the type of impaction and severity of the condition, the dentist will suggest the most suitable treatment option. In most cases, it is best to get the impacted teeth extracted as it saves you from a whole lot of pain and prevents the onset of infections.

How is the extraction performed?

Extracting an impacted tooth is slightly different from that of a healthy tooth. Local anesthesia will be administered before starting the procedure. Since the tooth could be stuck under the gums, it will have to be exposed by making an incision on the soft tissues. The tooth may have to be sectioned into smaller fragments so that they can be removed without harming the adjacent bone and soft tissues. The wound would be covered using sutures, and a suitable healing phase would be suggested. In case there is an infection, medication will be prescribed.

For more assistance, reach out to us at (925) 553-7173 or schedule an online appointment to have a consultation with Dr. Balakrishna.


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