Tooth Extraction/Impacted Wisdom Tooth Removal
When the wisdom teeth do not have enough room to grow properly they may come out sideways or at a wrong angle - they are impacted - because they are obstructed by the other teeth. The patient's wisdom tooth may come out at a strange angle, in the wrong place, or only come out partially. Our wisdom teeth are the last teeth to grow, they are medically known as the third molars - they are at the end of the upper and lower gums, right in the back of the mouth. Most people eventually have four wisdom teeth.
Depending on how the teeth have grown through, impacted wisdom teeth are classed as:
- Mesioangular Impaction: The tooth is angled towards the front of the mouth. Approximately 44% of wisdom teeth impactions are of this type.
- Vertical Impaction: The tooth does not break through the gum line. About 38% cases are of this type.
- Distoangular Impaction: The tooth is angled towards the back of the mouth. About 6% of cases are of this type.
- Horizontal Impaction: The tooth is angled sideways at a full 90 degrees, it grows into the roots of the molar next to it. About 3% cases are of this type.
Signs and Symptoms
- The patient feels and describes a symptom, while other people, including the physician or nurse detect a sign. For example, headache may be a symptom while dilated pupils may be a sign.
- In many cases there are no symptoms. However, impacted wisdom teeth can damage other teeth and are more prone to infections. With an infection the patient can have bad breath, headache, a strange taste in the mouth, toothache, swollen gums which may be redder than usual, swollen jaw, and bleeding gums.
Impacted Wisdom Tooth Removal Procedure
- Before removing a wisdom tooth, the dentist will give you a local anaesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed. A general anaesthetic may be used, especially if several or all of your wisdom teeth will be removed at the same time. A general anaesthetic prevents pain in the whole body and will cause you to sleep through the procedure. The dentist will probably recommend that you don't eat or drink after midnight on the night before surgery so that you are prepared for the anaesthetic.
- To remove the wisdom tooth, the dentist will open up the gum tissue over the tooth and take out any bone that is covering the tooth. He or she will separate the tissue connecting the tooth to the bone and then remove the tooth. Sometimes the dentist will cut the tooth into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove. After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. Some stitches dissolve over time and some have to be removed after a few days. The dentist will tell you whether your stitches need to be removed. A folded cotton gauze pad placed over the wound will help stop the bleeding.