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Wisdom teeth: what’s the difference between impaction and eruption?

Here at Lutwyche Dental in Brisbane we want to serve up a handful of nice hard facts about your third molars.

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the very back teeth on either side of the mouth. For those in their mid-teens to mid-twenties, you could probably just call them “that really annoying headache” because there is a high chance your wisdom teeth are the source.

This article will hopefully help you understand the difference between impaction and eruption when it comes to wisdom teeth, along with a bunch of other Q’s and A’s that may be useful to you.

Let’s start by busting a few myths…

  • Do wisdom teeth give you wisdom?

Negative. Wisdom teeth are named so because they are believed to develop at an age when a person has matured and is somewhat ‘wiser’. So even though you are probably wiser than you were since your last teeth developed, it isn’t because of your new third molars.

  • Do wisdom teeth always have to be removed?

That is a no. This is likely one of the most common misjudgements. Not everyone has to have their wisdom teeth removed but it is very important that you get a check-up and ask our dentists about it around your 15th-17th birthday or when you start feeling pain. This way we can track your development progress and see how your wisdom teeth are growing before they cause and dramas.

Now for some more direct frequently asked questions…

  • What does it mean if my wisdom teeth erupt?

It is quite literal really – your teeth have ‘erupted’ from your gums. When the teeth break through the surface, this is called eruption. Often times the tooth moves in stages which could mean it is only ‘partially erupted’ during this process.

Unfortunately partially erupted teeth are not always friendly though. Sometime the teeth may break the surface but still remain in the jawbone indefinitely. This can cause infection and may eventually mean your tooth needs removal. Consult with our dentist for more information.

  • What does it mean if my wisdom teeth impact?

When the jawbone doesn’t have enough room for the third molars, they can develop on an angle.

Take a look at our diagram…shutterstock_93243196 copy

You can see in the red that because the jawbone begins to angle at the point where the wisdom teeth should develop, the wisdom teeth can’t erupt properly.

By growing at an angle the teeth have become ‘impacted’ and are pushing against the other natural teeth.

  • Why would my wisdom teeth need to go?

Removal of wisdom teeth could be necessary for host of reasons. Here is just a couple:

– Impacted or even just regular wisdom teeth can make your teeth become crowded

Forget your orthodontic work! Your wisdom tooth has the capacity to push all your teeth in different directions and mess it all up. It doesn’t happen to everyone though – make sure you attend a check-up as soon as possible to see how your wisdom teeth are developing.

– Your impacted wisdom tooth is likely damaging its neighbour

The pressure from your wisdom tooth comes with a cost. As it rubs against its adjacent tooth it can cause extensive damage to the other tooth’s root, producing a kind of erosive cavity.

How we can help you remove them

Here at Lutwyche Dental we have the facilities to perform your wisdom teeth extractions in the dental practice without the added expenses of hospital costs. The treatment can be carried out under local anaesthetic in a single appointment.

Do you have a dental emergency?

We provide same day appointments for dental emergencies, if you are in urgent pain and require the help of a dentist, get in touch as soon as possible.

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