Third Molar Teeth, or ‘Wisdom Teeth’ as they are better known should exist in all Human Beings. Some people are considered lucky when due to hereditary factors or a genetic mutation they just don’t have one, some or all of these third molars. For the rest of us, an assessment and screening protocol should be followed in the later teenage or early adulthood years.
The most common problem associated with Wisdom Teeth is their failure to erupt into a functional (normal) position. When this happens, the teeth are described as impacted.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Impactions can occur for many reasons, the most common is a lack of space in the jaw to accommodate these teeth following the normal eruption sequence of the other adult teeth. Wisdom Teeth can be impacted in bone – “bony impaction” or stuck under gum – “soft tissue impaction”, or a combination of both.
Additionally we describe impacted Wisdom Teeth according to their position and angulation. If they point forwards towards the second molar tooth – “mesio-angular impaction”, if they are vertical – “vertical impaction”, or tilted backwards – “disto-angular impaction”. A wisdom Tooth that is lying down – “Horizontal Impaction”.
If impacted Wisdom Teeth are not removed the following can occur:
- Infection around the tooth causing pain and damage to surrounding structures in the jaw.
- Cyst formation.
- Damage to adjacent teeth.
- Periodontal (gum and bone tooth support) damage around the adjacent teeth.
- Occlusal and Bite changes (interferences)
- Tooth movement and crowding.
- Decay of adjacent teeth… etc.
At CDIC, we believe that preventing problems associated with Wisdom Teeth is a far more effective way of dealing with them, rather than treating the problems they can cause…. It is almost always easier for a patient to manage with and cheaper. If a patient happens to present with an infection, often the infection has to be treated and cleared up before the teeth can be removed.
We screen all of our CDIC teenagers and young adult patients in consultation with the patient’s orthodontist (if they have one), to determine if wisdom teeth are present and if they are likely to erupt into a functional position. Following the taking of a simple 2-dimensional radiograph, the presence of wisdom teeth can quickly be determined. It may be necessary to have a further 3-dimensional radiograph once it has been determined that the Wisdom Teeth are indicated for removal.
As with most dental / medical procedures, the removal of wisdom teeth is not completely risk free.
Early identification and management of impacted third molars generally carries lower procedural risks and is easier for the patient to manage as well as the surgeon.
The critical age at which impacted Wisdom Teeth should be removed before is 26….. so if you think you may need your third molars removed or are unsure as to whether or not you have any….
Call CDIC on (03) 95097356 for a “Wisdom Tooth Assessment” appointment.