FAQs & Other Info > Wisdom Teeth & Impacting Teeth

Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are usually the last teeth to develop. They are last molar at the back of your mouth. Usually wisdom teeth developed between the ages of 17 and 24.

Dr Coveney can advise you about the status of your wisdom teeth. An Xray of your teeth and jaws called an OPG is taken to determine if you have wisdom teeth that are impacted.

If a wisdom tooth fully erupts, or is likely to fully erupt into a functional position where it can be kept clean and healthy, then the tooth is usually retained.

In some cases there is a lack of space in the jaw for the wisdom teeth to fully erupt and become functional. When this occurs the teeth are classified as ‘impacted’.

In the following cases Dr Coveney would recommend the wisdom tooth be removed;

Infection: Episodes of acute gum infection can be common. The tissue around the wisdom tooth becomes irritated, inflamed and infected. This infection may spread to the cheek, throat or neck resulting in pain, swelling and stiffness of the jaws.

Tooth Damage: Wisdom teeth may be harmful to the tooth in front of it resulting in bone loss, gum disease or cavities. In addition, the wisdom tooth itself can be very difficult to clean which could lead to decay resulting in severe toothache.

Cyst: A cyst can form around the crown of the impacted wisdom tooth and this can cause destruction of surrounding bone and damage to other teeth and nerves in the area.
Crowding: Dr Coveney may recommend the removal of your impacted wisdom teeth if he feels they may lead to movement and crowding of other teeth.

If you suspect you have impacting wisdom teeth please contact our clinic immediately.

Impacted Teeth
Impacted or impacting teeth simply means that a tooth is blocked by another tooth or bone and are prevented from erupting into a normal position in the mouth.

Unerupted teeth that become impacted usually require surgical exposure to help them erupt. The wisdom teeth are the most common teeth to become impacted. However upper canines, incisor teeth and premolar teeth can also become impacted.

A special Xray of your teeth and jaws called an OPG is taken to determine if you have any teeth that are impacted.

Surgical Exposure of Impacted Teeth
If you have an impacted tooth or teeth, we refer you to an Oral Surgeon for their opinion. In most cases the wisdom teeth are removed and impacted canines, incisors and premolars are exposed.

The exposure of the tooth involves an operation where some gum tissue and bone overlying the tooth is removed resulting in the crown of the tooth being exposed.

Depending on the individual case, the oral surgeon might place a dressing held in with stitches over the tooth or, bond a bracket with a chain to the tooth and the patient will return to Dr Coveney and continue orthodontic treatment to reposition the tooth into the dental arch.
You may wonder why we expose the tooth rather than extract it. This is because all teeth are important  in the dental arch and they play an important role in your "bite" or occlusion. It is also important for appearances.

Each case is evaluated by both Dr Coveney and an Oral Surgeon, they work together to achieve the best possible long term outcome for the patient.
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