Impacted Wisdom Teeth Removal in Los Angeles
Our team at Los Angeles Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery protects the oral health of our patients by comfortably and efficiently extracting wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are an extra set of molars that start to come in around the ages of 17 and 25. The average mouth does not have enough room to house an additional set of molars, leading wisdom teeth to cause a number of problems.
An impacted wisdom tooth is one that cannot push through the gum tissue and becomes trapped beneath the gums. Impacted teeth often become impacted because they grow sideways instead of straight up or down into the dental arch. When a large wisdom tooth grows at an angle, nearby teeth can be pushed out of place, and their roots and nerves can become damaged. You can avoid all of these complications by having wisdom teeth removed by an oral surgeon as soon as possible.
What Is a Partially Erupted Wisdom Tooth?
An impacted wisdom tooth is fully trapped beneath the gums. Sometimes, part of an impacted tooth can emerge into the dental arch, but not erupt completely. When this happens, the wisdom tooth is considered to be partially erupted. A partially erupted tooth poses a threat to your other teeth and overall oral health, and many dental professionals recommend having them extracted.
When a tooth is only partially erupted, regardless of impaction, it becomes difficult to clean around. This increases the risk of developing an infection, gingivitis, or cysts and tumors forming around the tooth. Severe infection can progress to gum disease or tooth decay if left untreated. If the wisdom teeth develop at different times, the upper tooth may bite down on the lower tooth, for example, which can cause irritation and increase the risk of infection.
Pericoronitis is a condition when gingivitis occurs around a partially erupted tooth. To treat this condition, a dental professional will flush the area and take X-rays to determine the likely path of the tooth. When it’s time for wisdom tooth removal surgery, a dentist will often refer the patient to an oral surgeon. Typically by removing the wisdom teeth, present infections are easier to manage and resolve quickly.
Types of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Not all impacted teeth are the same. Your treatment options will depend on the number of wisdom teeth you have, if they are impacted, and the type of impaction. It’s important to attend regular checkups with your dentist. During these visits, your dentist takes X-rays of your teeth and will refer you to an oral surgeon if wisdom teeth start to develop. There are four common types of impaction that can occur with third molars.
The most common type of wisdom tooth impaction, a mesial impaction means the tooth is angled toward the front of the mouth and pushes against the molar in front of it. Mesial impactions often lead to a partially erupted tooth. There is a small chance that these teeth will erupt properly and will not need to be removed, but most teeth with a mesial impaction are extracted. Your dentist or oral surgeon will monitor these teeth for a few years and determine the right course of action.
The least common type of impaction is distal impaction. The tooth is angled toward the back of the mouth, opposite of mesial impaction. If the angle is slight, the tooth may erupt properly into the dental arch and not require extraction. If the angle is severe, your dentist will likely recommend you have it extracted by a surgeon. Your dentist or oral surgeon will monitor these teeth for a few years and determine the right course of action.
A horizontal impaction means the tooth is lying completely horizontally underneath the gums. Instead of moving through the gums, the tooth moves sideways into the neighboring tooth. These types of impactions can be painful and must be surgically removed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. This is a more complex surgery and will most likely be performed using IV sedation.
A vertical impaction means the tooth has near normal orientation and erupts into the dental arch alongside your other teeth. These teeth can cause pressure to the jaw bone and nearby molars, so your dentist may still recommend extraction. Because these teeth are fully erupted, typically only local anesthesia is needed to numb the area.
Why Treat Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
While it is possible for a wisdom tooth to properly develop without causing dental problems, it is rare. You already have molars in the back of your mouth to chew food, so an additional set of molars is not necessary for oral function. Additionally, the average mouth can only hold 28 adult teeth. An extra four teeth trying to squeeze in can be uncomfortable.
The process of having wisdom teeth removed is quick and easy, especially in the hands of the skilled oral surgeons at Los Angeles Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. On the day of your surgery, we numb your mouth, administer the chosen anesthesia, and extract the tooth. Fully erupted teeth are removed with forceps, similar to a simple tooth extraction. You should rest for the next 24 hours, and you can return to your normal routine in just a few days.
The time you invest into having your wisdom teeth extracted eliminates the risk of oral health issues associated with wisdom teeth. This saves you time and money in the future, and you won’t have to worry about third molars causing you any problems. Contact our office in Los Angeles today to schedule a consultation and for an evaluation of your wisdom teeth.