What Causes a Wisdom Tooth to Become Impacted?

What Causes a Wisdom Tooth to Become Impacted?

There are many adult “firsts” that happen in our late teens and early 20s. Think first apartment, first job, and first car. Those can be exciting, but another common development during this time is the appearance of the third molars — which are actually the final four teeth that erupt in your mouth — otherwise known as the wisdom teeth.

Though they don’t seem to make us any wiser, they can be a painful nuisance. But why do some people’s wisdom teeth need to be extracted, while others’ erupt uneventfully? The latter is actually rare. In fact, about 90% of people get at least one wisdom tooth that ends up being impacted, according to the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. 

Fortunately, the caring Expressions in Dentistry provider team have great expertise when it comes to assessing wisdom teeth and removing them, if necessary. Even though some lucky people’s wisdom teeth coming in is an uneventful experience, this is rare. We are here to walk you through what to expect with wisdom teeth removal and monitor you attentively as you recover as well.

How does it feel to have an impacted wisdom tooth?

In a word, awful. When wisdom teeth are impacted, you may experience any of the following symptoms:

In addition to these symptoms, you may also notice a bad taste in your mouth or develop bad breath. 

There really is no pain like mouth pain. When it’s chronic, it gets in the way of just about everything. 

Why do so many wisdom teeth become impacted?

A lack of real estate inside your mouth is the reason a wisdom tooth becomes impacted. There simply isn’t room for them most of the time. 

Wisdom teeth can also erupt in odd ways, which sets you up for more discomfort. A wisdom tooth can erupt so that it’s pointing toward its next door neighbor molar toward the back of your mouth, get locked in your jawbone at a right angle, and even position itself so it’s completely flat. 

Your wisdom teeth can cause pain and even a gum infection before they’re even visible to you, and this is one of the reasons why your dentist might want to take a proactive and preventive approach and remove them before problems and discomfort develop. Infection can be exacerbated by the fact that thorough cleaning of a hard-to-access wisdom tooth is nearly impossible. 

The good news: Wisdom teeth removal has been perfected

At Expressions in Dentistry, we’re dedicated to the safe and comfortable removal of your wisdom teeth. If your dentist recommends extraction, you get to decide whether sedation, local anesthesia, or general anesthesia is right for you. Depending on your level of anxiety and the complexity of the procedure, your dentist can help you create a plan that’s right for you.

Because this is a procedure during which you’re either sedated or receive anesthesia, you need to come with a friend or loved one who can drive you home afterward.

During wisdom tooth extract, your dentist makes a minute incision in your gums so that your wisdom tooth is exposed. This way, they can easily access the area. They proceed to remove the wisdom tooth, which may come out in multiple smaller pieces or as the entire tooth. After scrupulously cleaning the area, your dentist then sutures the incision.

Recovery from wisdom tooth extraction is quick, but it’s normal to have a few days of sensitivity, mild bleeding, and swelling. We’re available to answer any questions you may have during your recovery period as well. 

Wisdom teeth removal is a rite of passage for most young adults. Don’t put off this important procedure because of fear of the unknown. Now that you’re armed with information, you can take good care of yourself.

Call the Expressions in Dentistry office at 916-983-6767, or use our convenient online booking tool. For your convenience, we offer early morning and evening appointments Monday through Thursday, and we’re open 8am-4pm on Saturdays.

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