Three Common Problems Caused by Wisdom Teeth

In today’s blog we are going to discuss three common problems that impacted wisdom teeth cause. Impacted wisdom teeth are teeth that develop inside the jaw bone, but fail to erupt/come out into the mouth. As a result, they can cause a variety of problems with adjacent teeth.

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1. Decay/Caries on the adjacent teeth
a. This happens because it’s nearly impossible to maintain good oral hygiene around impacted teeth.
b. Food, plaque and bacteria get stuck between the wisdom tooth and the other erupted tooth, causing tooth decay on adjacent teeth.
c. This requires additional treatment (Root canals, crowns, etc…) on a tooth that was otherwise completely fine before the nearby wisdom tooth started to push into it.
d. The problem could have been easily avoided had the wisdom tooth been removed early on, before it started to cause damage to the adjacent tooth.

X-Ray of Top and Bottom Impacted Wisdom TeethPartial X-Ray of Impacted Wisdom ToothFull X-Ray of Two Impacted Wisdom Teeth - Bottom Row

2. Wisdom teeth preventing eruption of the other teeth
a. Sometimes, the wisdom teeth grow on top/over the second molar teeth.
b. As a result, second molars fail to erupt/come out into the mouth normally.
c. This leads to poor occlusion/bite, poor hygiene due to teeth being “crooked”, extensive orthodontic treatment (prolonged treatment with teeth braces), and of course more surgery.
d. The problem could have been easily avoided had the wisdom teeth been removed before they started to cause problems.

Full X-Ray of Two Impacted Wisdom Teeth - Top Row X-Ray of Impacted Wisdom Blocking Molar

In the first picture, the upper second molars on both sides (red arrows) are being prevented from coming into the mouth normally because the wisdom teeth up above are “squeezing” or “pushing” the second molars into the first molars. As a result, the second molars are stuck, and can’t come out into the mouth normally. As you can see, their counterparts on the lower jaw (second molars) are out in the mouth already.
In the second picture, the lower right wisdom tooth is blocking the lower right second molar from erupting normally. As a result of the second molar being stuck lower (blue arrow), the upper second molar is “hypererupting”(red arrow) or reaching lower, below other teeth to get to touch the second molar. This creates bad problems with the bite, or the way teeth are coming together, requiring extensive orthodontic work in order to correct the problem.

3. Impacted wisdom teeth can damage/resorb the adjacent teeth
a. Sometimes, due to the fact that impacted wisdom teeth push on the other teeth, the adjacent teeth can get resorbed/damaged/eaten away, much the same way as adult teeth resorb baby teeth.
b. This oftentimes leads to patient loosing not only the wisdom tooth, but also the adjacent resorbed tooth, that the patient was using for chewing previously.
c. This unfortunate problem could have again been easily avoided if the wisdom tooth was removed before it started to cause problems.

Extracted Impacted Wisdom Tooth - 1Extracted Impacted Wisdom Tooth - 2X-Ray of Resorbed Wisdom Tooth

As you can see from this blog entry, impacted wisdom teeth have a potential to cause a lot of damage to adjacent healthy teeth, which, in turn, leads to more extensive treatment of the resulting problems.
We offer expert consultations regarding wisdom teeth, so please give our office a call and come in for an evaluation, so that if you have a problem with impacted wisdom teeth, the problem can be identified and treated early.