What are impacted wisdom teeth?

Ever hear of impacted wisdom teeth? In this article, we will discuss wisdom teeth, and potential complications with them.

What are impacted wisdom teeth?

A persons first permanent molars will usually erupt around age six or seven. The final set of teeth a person can expect to see are called third molars, or sometimes referred to as wisdom teeth. These will usually erupt between ages 17 and 21. In some cases, a person may see all for wisdom teeth, and sometimes perhaps none at all! Wisdom teeth can come in without any issues, and sometimes, they can cause some problems.

Wisdom teeth become impacted when they fail to fully erupt due to blockage from other teeth. This can sometimes cause pain, inflammation, infection, or damage to adjacent teeth. It is estimated that in the Swedish population alone, this condition affects up to 72%. Why do we even have these teeth if they cause so many issues? One speculation is that the diet of humans thousands of years ago wore molars down significantly. Wisdom teeth would erupt around the time the second molars would wear down, giving a person “new” teeth.

The most common method of treatment is wisdom teeth extraction, with approximately 10 million wisdom teeth removed each year. Most people will experience pain and swelling after surgery, with the first day post surgery being the worst. Most people are able to return to work after 2-3 days, and find that the level of discomfort will decrease to about 25% by day number seven.

It is important to make an appointment with your dentist if you are experiencing any pain with your wisdom teeth, or you notice they have not fully erupted. Sometimes the idea of a procedure like tooth extraction can sound scary, but the folks at Wallace Family Dentistry will be with you every step of the way!