Treatment Options When Your Wisdom Teeth Are Impacted

Did you know that your third molars can emerge anywhere from the age of 17 to 25? According to the American Dental Association, this is when most individuals see these molars — more often called wisdom teeth — emerge.

But not everyone sees these teeth come in. When wisdom teeth fail to pop through the gums, they are referred to as impacted. If your wisdom teeth are impacted, you have several options.

One of the experienced providers at Northern Virginia Oral, Maxillofacial & Implant Surgery may suggest surgical extraction of your wisdom teeth.

What does it mean when your wisdom teeth are impacted?

An impacted tooth is a tooth that fails to come through the gums. There are many reasons why your wisdom teeth become impacted. It’s possible that a small jaw structure simply doesn’t leave enough room for your third molars. It’s also possible that your wisdom tooth is growing at the wrong angle. 

There are three types of impaction:

Sometimes wisdom teeth can partially erupt. This means that they partially erupted through the gum line, but don’t have enough room to complete the process.

Impacted wisdom teeth (and especially partially impacted teeth)  are more at risk for decay, infection, and other complications.

Treatment options for impacted wisdom teeth

If your teeth are partially erupted, they can trap food, bacteria, and debris, which increases your risk for decay. It’s likely that surgical extraction is your best bet in this case. But what about fully impacted teeth? Below are a few treatment options for impacted wisdom teeth:

Monitor your wisdom teeth

Sometimes, fully impacted teeth aren’t surgically extracted as long as they are asymptomatic. According to the experts at Mayo Clinic, there isn’t enough research to indicate whether conservative treatment (i.e., monitoring) or surgery is always superior for the asymptomatic teeth. If you do opt to leave the asymptomatic impacted teeth alone, it’s essential to keep up with regular dental care so that any changes can be immediately caught.

At Northern Virginia Oral, Maxillofacial & Implant Surgery, our thorough examination will help determine if your impacted wisdom teeth are a threat to the health of your mouth.

Surgical extraction

Impacted wisdom teeth — whether they cause symptoms or not — can be surgically removed. During the procedure, you’ll remain comfortable with anesthesia (either local anesthesia, IV sedation, or general anesthesia). 

You can expect about a week of recovery time, but the surgery can help prevent unwanted complications of impacted teeth from developing later on.

Do you still have your wisdom teeth?

We know that thinking about wisdom teeth surgery isn’t fun, but if your teeth are impacted, it’s important to think about the overall health of your mouth. And if you’re already experiencing unwanted symptoms such as pain or tenderness, we can help you get the relief you need.

To request an appointment in one of our three locations — Burke, Reston, or Alexandria — call the location of your choice today. You can also book an appointment online.

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