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Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Adults develop 32 teeth. The third molars, commonly called the wisdom teeth, are the last of these teeth to erupt, emerging in the late teens to the early 20s. These teeth are also the ones that are most likely to cause oral health complications and severe pain. This is because the wisdom teeth are the most common teeth to become impacted. At Pacific Maxillofacial Center, we can restore your oral health and relieve your discomfort with wisdom tooth extraction.

What Issues Do Wisdom Teeth Cause?

Some people never experience any issues with their wisdom teeth, and they emerge just like the rest of the teeth. However, for most individuals, the wisdom teeth become impacted, which can cause several issues. An impacted tooth is one that does not properly emerge through the gum tissue. Even when wisdom teeth emerge, since they are so far back in the mouth, they are very difficult to clean adequately. For these reasons, wisdom teeth can cause several issues:
•  Cavities, gum disease, and infection. Since wisdom teeth are so far back in the mouth, they are challenging to clean. Food and bacteria tend to get trapped in these areas and can cause cavities or gum disease. When wisdom teeth only partially emerge through the gum tissue, they create the ideal environment for bacterial growth. A localized or even widespread infection can develop.
•  Overcrowding. The wisdom teeth used to serve a purpose. Before the invention of cooking, our ancestors relied on wisdom teeth to help break down rough foods. After cooking, the wisdom teeth were no longer necessary. The jaw, which once comfortably accommodated all of the teeth, began to shrink. However, the wisdom teeth remained. For many people, there simply is not enough room in the jaw to accommodate all 32 teeth. As a result, wisdom teeth attempting to emerge can push your existing teeth out of alignment, causing overcrowding. Overcrowding can cause bite issues along with aesthetic issues.
•  Tooth Damage. In some instances, wisdom teeth may be developing at an angle. If they are angled toward the adjacent teeth, they could hit those teeth. As the wisdom teeth continue to grow, they may place pressure on the adjacent teeth, causing them to erode. This damage to adjacent teeth may necessitate removal of the wisdom tooth, or even the adjacent tooth.
•  Cysts. A cyst is a fluid-filled sac that can form as a result of impaction, or as a result of infection. Cysts are usually noncancerous, but they still need to be removed. Untreated cysts continue to grow, damaging surrounding structures as they do.

Diagnosing Impacted Wisdom Teeth

If you experience any symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth, it is important to seek help quickly for a formal diagnosis. Common symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth include:
•  Red swollen gums.
•  Swelling around the jaw.
•  Bad breath.
•  A bad taste in your mouth.
•  Trouble opening and closing your mouth.
•  Severe pain.

Diagnosing impacted wisdom teeth requires a thorough oral exam. First, we visually inspect your mouth, checking your gums for signs of infection. We will also check for partially emerged teeth. Your exam also involves the use of dental x-rays. X-rays allow us to see the structures under your gums, including your developing wisdom teeth, any damage to adjacent teeth, and cysts. If we determine your wisdom teeth are impacted or causing problems, we then make a treatment plan.

Wisdom Tooth Removal

The only way to treat impacted wisdom teeth is via tooth extractions. There are two types of tooth extractions used for removing teeth; simple and surgical. Simple extractions involve the use of forceps to wiggle the tooth back and forth and widen the socket. When the socket is wide enough, the tooth is lifted out.

Most impacted teeth require oral surgery. A surgical extraction is a more complex process that can be done with local anesthetics or with sedation. First, incisions are made in the gum tissue, exposing the impacted teeth and surrounding jawbone. The teeth are then extracted. This may involve removing a small amount of bone or breaking the tooth and removing it in pieces. Once the tooth is completely removed, the area is cleaned. Oftentimes a stitch is left to help with the healing process.

Removing impacted wisdom teeth not only alleviates your pain, but can also help to improve your oral health. Moreover, unlike other teeth that may need to be extracted, wisdom teeth do not need to be replaced. For more information, contact Pacific Maxillofacial Center, today at 808-585-8455.
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1060 Young St #312
Honolulu, HI 96814-1604


Office: 808-585-8455
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Waipahu, HI 96797


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Wisdom Teeth - Honolulu, HI • Pacific Maxillofacial Center
At Pacific Maxillofacial Center, we can restore your oral health and relieve your discomfort with wisdom tooth extraction. Click here to learn more!
Pacific Maxillofacial Center, 1060 Young Street #312, Honolulu, HI 96814; 808-585-8455;; 11/30/2022; Associated Words: wisdom teeth Honolulu;