What It Means When a Wisdom Tooth Gets Impacted

Wisdom tooth impaction isn’t as common as many other oral health concerns, but when it occurs, it can become a serious threat and source of discomfort to your oral health. Unless you’ve already experienced it, the condition may seem like a mystery, and fortunately, there may be a chance that you’ll never have to deal with a problematic wisdom tooth. However, if you do, then it’s important to understand what the condition means, and why extracting impacted wisdom teeth as soon as possible is important to your immediate and long-term oral health.

The meaning of wisdom tooth impaction

In general, the impaction of a wisdom tooth means that the tooth has become obstructed before it can erupt along your dental ridge. Your wisdom teeth are more formally known as third molars, and they’re the last set of permanent teeth to develop. Why we still develop them is still largely a mystery, as our dental ridges and jawbones have grown smaller through evolution and, in many cases, cannot accommodate the additional molars. This can lead to one, several, or all of the wisdom teeth becoming impeded within the jawbone, and as they continue to grow, they can lead to a number of severe consequences for your other teeth and oral structures.

The impact this has on your oral health

Wisdom teeth don’t always become impacted when they develop. In fact, many people have a full set of teeth including their third molars that fit comfortably and in alignment with their overall dentition. Yet, when they do become impacted, their growth can affect your oral health in several ways. Because of the limited room along your dental ridge, the tooth can become obstructed by the nearby second molar, forcing the wisdom tooth to turn at an angle, or completely horizontally. This won’t stop the tooth from growing; instead, it will do so at an angle that causes it to push forcefully against surrounding jawbone structure and the nearby molar.

The most effective solution to wisdom tooth impaction

The force of an impacted wisdom tooth that’s still trying to grow can be immense, and the surrounding jawbone and/or tooth structure won’t stand a chance against it. Common results of untreated wisdom tooth impaction can include severe damage to the surrounding dental ridge, as well as several of the teeth closest to it. The most effective way to resolve or prevent this problem is to surgically remove the impacted molars from within the bone structure they’re encased in. Because they’re no longer necessary for your bite to function at its full capacity, extracting wisdom teeth could be the best way to preserve your oral health and bite function in the future, as well.

Learn what to do if your wisdom tooth is impacted

Wisdom tooth impaction can be the source of a number of different oral health concerns if it isn’t addressed promptly. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, call Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park Oral Surgery in Santa Rosa, CA, today at 707-545-4625.