All About Wisdom Teeth

Believe it or not, the term “wisdom teeth” (aka third molars) has nothing to do with knowledge or intelligence. Instead, the term refers to the fact that they emerge much later than baby teeth. If they erupt at all, they usually do so around age 18. Eruption may be straight, crooked, or impacted. But even molars that come in straight often need to be extracted. Extraction solves problems such as lack of space as well as the inability of many to keep them cleaned and maintained, since they are difficult to reach.  

Vertical Impactions

When the part of the tooth is above the bone and visible in the mouth, and part of it is submerged in the bone, this is called a vertical impaction. In such a case, the tooth could still erupt properly if the tooth next to is not in the way. However, if the upper tooth is fully vertically impacted, the entire tooth is submerged in the bone. And extraction is often necessary. In most cases, the dentist will evaluate whether the tooth moves over the course of several years. In most cases, if they move, the impacted teeth may need to be removed.  

Mesial Impactions

Partially lowered lower teeth are known as mesially-erupted. This means that part of the tooth is above the bone and visible in the mouth and part of it is submerged in the bone and is it tilted mesially, which means it is tipped toward the front of the mouth. This tooth will not likely erupt properly as the tooth next to it is in its way. These teeth typically need to be extracted because the bacteria that collects under the gum tissue make them difficult to clean. And poor hygiene can lead to infection. What’s more, the tooth next to the wisdom tooth can also decay due to the wisdom tooth.

Horizontal Impactions

When the tooth is perpendicular and will not properly erupt due to location, this is called horizontal. The dentist will observe such a tooth over a period of years, to determine whether they should be removed.   

 About Dr. Fred Wong of Blue Ocean Dentistry in Glendora, California

Dr. Fred Wong and the staff at Blue Ocean Dentistry use the latest available dental treatments, equipment, and materials – all of which make a marked difference in our patients’ experiences. We are committed to helping our patients achieve optimal dental health. We creatively combine dental science and artistry — which can literally redesign your smile. Since even a subtle change in your smile will help you to project self-confidence and high self-esteem, we love helping you feel good about yourself. We deliver the finest dental care at the most reasonable cost and accept most dental insurance plans as well as CareCredit. For more about the dental treatment plans we offer or to schedule an appointment, call today (626) 852-6999.

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