What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth, officially referred to as third molars, are usually the last teeth to develop and are located in the back part of your mouth. They usually complete development between the ages of 15 and 20, a time traditionally associated with the onset of maturity and the attainment of wisdom.
What are impacted wisdom teeth?
Since the wisdom teeth are the last to develop, they may not have enough room to adequately erupt into the mouth and become fully functional and cleansable. This lack of room or space can result in a number of harmful effects to your overall dental health. When this occurs they are said to be impacted, indicating their inability to erupt into a functional position for chewing. A special x-ray of your mouth and jaws will be taken to determine if your wisdom teeth are impacted.
There are several types of impactions:
Soft Tissue Impactions: There is not enough room to allow the gum tissue to retract for adequate cleaning of the wisdom tooth.
Partial Bony Impactions: There is enough space to allow the wisdom tooth to partially erupt. It cannot function in the chewing process and creates cleaning problems.
Complete Bony Impactions: There is NO space for the tooth to erupt. It remains totally below the jawbone or, if partially visible, requires complex removal techniques.
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