When you reach the age of roughly 17, a third set of molars start to grow in at the very back of the mouth. Commonly called wisdom teeth, for most people, these teeth can cause problems. They can either become stuck under the gum or only partially able to break through. This is what your dentist calls impacted wisdom teeth.
This condition affects nearly 72 percent of the population. When wisdom teeth can’t grow in normally, it’s typically because the jaw doesn’t have enough space to accommodate the extra
set of molars or because they come in at an incorrect angle and collides with the molars next to them. When this happens, the impacted wisdom tooth can trap food, plaque and other debris, causing swelling, gum irritation, tooth decay and bad breath.
Your Mesa dentist will start screening for the presence of wisdom teeth during late adolescence. At this point, the dentist will perform a clinical exam as well as x-rays. If the wisdom teeth come in and are impacted, there are symptoms to look out for that will tell you they may need to be removed, including:
- Swelling Around the Jaw
- Swollen, Tender, Red or Bleeding Gums
- Headaches caused by the Temporomandibular Joint
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Bad taste in the mouth
In general, it’s best to have impacted wisdom teeth removed while you’re young. The process includes sedation and a local anaesthetic. Wisdom tooth extraction typically takes 20-30 minutes, and the typical recovery time lasts three to five days. During this time, it’s important to keep a close eye on the surgical site. If you experience excess bleeding, especially after a few days, give the dentist a call. It’s also important to take all pain medications that your dentist prescribes.