Also known as third molars, they are the last teeth to erupt in your mouth. This generally occurs between the ages of 17 and 25. When there is a lack of space in the dental arch, the tooth's growth and eruption are prevented by overlying gum, bone or another tooth.
HOW SERIOUS IS AN IMPACTED TOOTH?
Impacted teeth can be painful and lead to infection. They may also crowd or damage adjacent teeth or roots. More serious problems may occur if the sac surrounding the impacted tooth becomes filled with fluid and enlarges to form a cyst. As the cyst grows it may hollow out the jaw and permanently damage adjacent teeth, the surrounding bone and nerves. Rarely, if a cyst is not treated, a tumor may develop from its walls and a more serious surgical procedure may be required to remove it.
WHEN SHOULD I HAVE MY WISDOM TEETH REMOVED?
Wisdom teeth are easier to remove when the patient is younger, since their roots are not completely formed, the surrounding bone is softer, and there is less chance of damaging nearby nerves or other structures. Removal of wisdom teeth at a later age becomes more complicated as the roots have fully developed (may involve the nerve), and the jawbone is denser.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING SURGERY?
Before surgery, we will discuss with you what to expect. This is a good time to ask questions or express your concerns. The relative ease with which a wisdom tooth may be removed depends on several conditions, including the position of the tooth and root development. Impacted wisdom teeth may require a more involved surgical procedure.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER SURGERY?
Following surgery, you may experience some swelling and mild discomfort, which are part of the normal healing process. Cold compresses may help decrease the swelling, and medication prescribed by Dr. Koepke can help manage the discomfort. You may be instructed to modify your diet following surgery and later progress to more normal foods.