Wisdom Teeth Removal Brisbane
Getting wisdom teeth removed early can be a wise move indeed - with persistent pain, teeth alignment issues, damage to gums and the potential of infection just some reasons as to why people may need to undergo a wisdom teeth removal procedure.
These wisdom teeth, otherwise known as third molars, erupt in the back four corners of the mouth, usually between the young adult ages of 17 to 21.
There can be complications with wisdom teeth, where some can fail to fully come through the gum bed, causing the teeth to become impacted or create other problems with alignment.
According to the Australian Dental Association (ADA) the 'impaction' of wisdom teeth may be due to soft tissues such as gums or hard tissues such as other teeth or bone, in which case your dentist may advise you to have them removed as they will not grow into a "position that allows them to be functional teeth".
Types of Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are classified as molars, which are predominantly used for chewing. Since these particular molars are found furthest in the back of the mouth, they are also known as “third molars” – most people have first, second and third molars. They typically come in behind the 2nd molars, provided there is enough room in the person’s jaw to accommodate them.
Individuals generally develop four wisdom teeth, one in each corner of the mouth. When all four of the “third molars” develop normally alongside the rest of your teeth and they are perfectly healthy, they are considered an asset to your mouth. More often than not, wisdom teeth either fail to emerge into their expected position or they emerge at an awkward angle. The term “impaction” is used to describe a tooth that does not fully emerge either due to insufficient space in the jaw or improper angulation.
Dentists categorise the description of the impaction of the wisdom teeth in two ways: (1) direction of the impaction and (2) degree of the impaction.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth - Diagnosis
Direction of the impaction
- In terms of “direction”, they use specific terms to indicate the positioning of the impaction. The Mesial Impaction, (also known as Angular Impaction), refers to the wisdom tooth angled in a forward position. The Mesial Impaction is the most common, accounting for 44% of cases. When the wisdom tooth is angled towards the throat, it is known as Distal Impaction. Vertical impaction occurs when the tooth is angled towards the roof of the mouth while Horizontal Impaction indicates “sideways” angulation. This is the least common type of impaction, occurring in only 3% of cases.
Degree of the impaction
- The impaction can also be described by the degree to which the tooth remains encased within the jawbone or below the gum line. This type of impaction is further sub-divided into two groups – whether a "bony" impaction or "soft tissue" impaction. A soft tissue impaction indicates the tooth has penetrated the bone but not the gums. A bony impaction, on the other hand, describes means they are still encased in the jaw's bone.
Soft Tissue Impaction
If the wisdom tooth has erupted out of the jawbone but still covered by the gum, it is known as a Soft Tissue Impaction. If the tooth has partially erupted out of the jawbone below the gum line, it is called a Partial Bony Impaction. A Complete Bony Impaction refers to a wisdom tooth that is totally covered by the jawbone and gum.
Although it is possible to retain one’s wisdom teeth – especially for people with larger jaws that provide enough room for the teeth to erupt properly in the mouth, it is uncommon for most people.
What are the risks?
In fact, delay or postponement of a wisdom teeth removal can sometimes cause problems for people who have them. Partial eruption of impacted wisdom teeth often occurs in patients aged between 45-55. Wisdom teeth removal at this age could cause bigger problems as not only would the third molars become more difficult to extract, a longer healing period would be necessary.
The Wisdom Teeth Removal Procedure
A dentist or oral and maxillofacial surgeon will determine which wisdom teeth need to be removed using x-rays. This will also indicate which ones will also be functional. A dentist may need to only cut away some soft tissue to allow the tooth to erupt properly, allowing the wisdom tooth to be functional.
If the whole tooth needs to be extracted, some surrounding bone may need to be cut, and if the tooth extracted was large, the socket may need stitches to help with the healing.