Ideally, wisdom teeth have enough room in the jaw to come out, and they do not cause any problems. Unfortunately, nowadays many people experience complaints during or after the eruption of their wisdom teeth. Difficult eruption is more common in the lower jaw. In our modern world we process food more and more, therefore we chew less and use our chewing muscles and our jaw less. As a result of a long evolutional process the jaw has narrowed and the chewing surfaces have decreased.Impacted wisdom tooth
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt and they do not have enough room in the dental arch between the last molar and the jawbone. Wisdom teeth that are trapped in the jaw are known as impacted teeth. Impacted teeth meet a mechanical barrier and stop erupting in abnormal positions. This can lead to crowding of the other teeth, resorption of the root of the neighbouring teeth and periodontal inflammation. it can even lead to abcess formation. Partially emerged wisdom teeth that are partly covered by gum can cause other inflammatory conditions of dental origin.
If the wisdom tooth breaks through the gum at one point, a pocket is formed between the tooth and the gum. This pocket is difficult to clean and it is easily invaded by bacteria, which results in painful inflammation known as pericoronitis. In the beginning pericoronitis causes mild pain, but the pain can get severe and it can spread towards the ear. The gum above the tooth is red and swollen, and you may also experience pussy discharge leaking from the pocket. If the inflammation is severe, you can also develop difficulty opening your mouth, lockjaw or difficulty swallowing. When you experience these symptoms, contact your dentist as soon as possible.
If your dentist confirms that the cause of the problem is an impacted wisdom tooth which is inflamed and the tooth is not expected to emerge further to reach the chewing surface, it will be removed. Wisdom teeth blocked by bone are removed surgically under local anaesthesia.