On a recent trip to Sicily, Mount Etna had again erupted and lava was flowing with bellows of lava dust. Back at Sparkle Dental Boutique, Hanwell a patient came in with an erupted and impacted wisdom tooth.
Wisdom teeth actually begin forming before the age of 10 and if they erupt it is usually between the ages of 17 – 21, which coincides with passage into adulthood, hence the name `wisdom teeth’. Most people do not experience pain with their wisdom teeth, but sometimes problems are progressing slowly and often silent. The most common problems are:
You may have soreness or pain in the back part of your jaw, ear ache, sore throat or pain in the side of the face. The pain may be caused by an impacted wisdom tooth or there may be an infection associated it.
This generally happens because these partly erupted wisdom teeth are difficult to keep clean, and the accumulated food particles cause the gums around your tooth to get infected. If left untreated, the infection may cause loss of bone surrounding the wisdom tooth. This may also affect the neighbouring tooth.
Sometimes the wisdom tooth becomes an incubation and re-inoculation source. This happens when bacteria surrounding the wisdom tooth spreads to other teeth. The resulting chronic infection is now recognized to have an impact beyond merely oral health, and also has an impact on our general health and organ systems.
When there is not enough space in the mouth for wisdom teeth to erupt, they then erupt in an abnormal direction or may get locked into the jaw.
The same types of bacteria that are responsible for infections can also cause tooth decay or cavities in the impacted wisdom tooth and/or the root of the adjacent tooth. A wisdom tooth may decay unnoticed, as they are the most difficult teeth to keep clean, being so far back into the mouth.
An impacted or erupting wisdom tooth can push on adjacent teeth, causing them to become more crooked.