Third molars are called “wisdom teeth.” Ideally your jaw will have plenty of room for your wisdom teeth to erupt as naturally as your others did, and extra molars mean better chewing. The trouble comes when there just isn’t enough room. If this is the case, the wisdom teeth will only be able to break through part of the way, and when this happens most of the tooth will remain embedded deep within the gum resulting in what dentists refer to as an impacted wisdom tooth. If bacteria reaches through the gum tissue and gets into the tooth around the exposed area it may lead to an infection under the gum.

Impacted wisdom teeth can present themselves in several different ways, depending on the position in which they lie under the gum. Mesial, or lying in an angle leaning toward the front part of the mouth is the most frequently seen, followed by vertical, horizontal and distal. Distal being just the opposite of mesial and angled toward the back of the mouth.

An impacted wisdom tooth can be either soft or bony. A “soft tissue impaction” means that the wisdom tooth has crowned through the bone but not completely through the gum. A “hard,” or “bony” impaction can either mean that the entire tooth still rests under the gumline, or that part of it has broken through.

One theory as to why a fairly high percentage of people experience a problem with their wisdom teeth coming in is that with the evolution of modern man our diet has become so soft that the additional molars are no longer needed. Others believe that modern dentistry keeps us from losing teeth that may break off or be damaged in some other way. Before today’s technological know-how lost teeth would make room for others to take their place naturally.

Spokane Valley Dentistry takes pride in being able to offer expansive dental services on a one-to-one basis. They take the time to listen to the individual concerns of every patient. Call for a consultation @ 509-926-6261.