Wisdom teeth are the third molars at the far back of the mouth that usually develop between the ages of 17 to 25. They serve no practical purpose and can often cause problems such as overcrowding and impaction. But what happens when wisdom teeth grow sideways? In this informative article, we will discuss everything you need to know about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of sideways wisdom teeth growth.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the final set of molars to grow in the mouth. They typically emerge during the late teenage or early adulthood years and can cause problems when they don’t have enough room to come in properly, leading to impaction, overcrowding, infection, and even more severe dental problems.
It is estimated that around 85% of people will need to have their wisdom teeth removed at some point in their lives. This is because the human jaw has evolved to be smaller over time, leaving less space for these teeth to grow in. Additionally, wisdom teeth can be difficult to clean properly, making them more susceptible to decay and gum disease.
While some people may not experience any issues with their wisdom teeth, others may feel pain or discomfort in the back of their mouth, have difficulty opening their jaw, or notice swelling or redness in the gums. It is important to see a dentist regularly to monitor the growth and development of wisdom teeth and address any potential problems before they become more serious.
Understanding Wisdom Teeth Growth Patterns
Wisdom teeth typically grow vertically in the mouth, but they can also grow horizontally, partially emerge, or stay completely impacted within the gums or jawbone. Oral surgeons and dentists can effectively monitor the growth patterns of wisdom teeth and advise on the best course of action if problems arise.
It is common for wisdom teeth to cause discomfort and pain as they grow, especially if they are impacted or growing at an angle. In some cases, they can also cause damage to adjacent teeth or lead to infections. Regular dental check-ups and X-rays can help detect any potential issues early on.
While some people may never develop wisdom teeth, others may have up to four. The timing of their growth can also vary, with some individuals experiencing them in their late teens or early twenties, while others may not see them until their thirties or forties. It is important to discuss any concerns or questions about wisdom teeth with your dentist or oral surgeon.
Causes of Sideways Wisdom Teeth Growth
Sideways wisdom teeth growth can result from a variety of reasons, including genetic predisposition, lack of space in the mouth, or obstruction by nearby teeth. While some people’s wisdom teeth grow without causing any problems, others can experience severe pain, infection, or damage to surrounding teeth when their wisdom teeth grow in sideways.
One of the most common causes of sideways wisdom teeth growth is a lack of space in the mouth. When there is not enough room for the wisdom teeth to grow in properly, they may start to grow in at an angle, pushing against nearby teeth and causing discomfort. This can also lead to overcrowding, which can make it difficult to clean the teeth properly and increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
In some cases, sideways wisdom teeth growth can also be caused by an obstruction from nearby teeth. This can happen if the wisdom teeth are trying to grow in where there is already a tooth in place, or if there is a misalignment in the teeth that is causing them to push against each other. This can lead to pain, swelling, and infection, and may require the removal of one or more teeth to correct the problem.
Symptoms of Sideways Wisdom Teeth Growth
Some common symptoms of sideways wisdom teeth growth include pain and swelling in the back of the mouth, difficulty opening the mouth, and discomfort when biting or chewing. In severe cases, sideways wisdom teeth can cause inflammation, gum disease, dental abscesses, and nerve damage.
Another symptom of sideways wisdom teeth growth is bad breath or an unpleasant taste in the mouth. This can occur when food particles and bacteria get trapped in the crevices around the impacted tooth. Additionally, sideways wisdom teeth can cause headaches and earaches due to the pressure they put on surrounding nerves and tissues.
If left untreated, sideways wisdom teeth can lead to more serious dental problems. They can cause damage to adjacent teeth, leading to decay and infection. In some cases, they may even cause cysts or tumors to form in the jawbone. It is important to see a dentist if you are experiencing any symptoms of sideways wisdom teeth growth, as early intervention can prevent further complications.
How to Diagnose Sideways Wisdom Teeth Growth
The best way to diagnose sideways wisdom teeth growth is to schedule an appointment with your dentist or oral surgeon. They can examine your mouth, take x-rays, and determine the severity of your wisdom teeth impaction. After your diagnosis, your dentist can advise on the best course of treatment to resolve your problem.
It is important to diagnose sideways wisdom teeth growth as soon as possible, as it can lead to a variety of dental problems. If left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain, infection, and even damage to surrounding teeth and gums. In some cases, they may even lead to the development of cysts or tumors.
During your diagnosis, your dentist may also discuss the potential risks and benefits of wisdom teeth removal. While not all impacted wisdom teeth require extraction, it may be necessary in cases where they are causing significant discomfort or posing a risk to your oral health. Your dentist can provide you with more information on the procedure and what to expect during recovery.
Treatment Options for Sideways Wisdom Teeth Growth
The most common treatment option for sideways wisdom teeth growth is surgical extraction. Your oral surgeon may recommend general anesthesia for the procedure, as it can be extensive and require removal of a significant amount of gum or bone tissue. Non-surgical treatment methods for sideways wisdom teeth growth include medication to alleviate pain, but these methods do not remove the root cause of the problem.
Another treatment option for sideways wisdom teeth growth is orthodontic treatment. In some cases, braces or other orthodontic appliances can be used to gradually shift the position of the teeth, allowing them to grow in the correct direction. This method may take longer than surgical extraction, but it can be a good option for patients who want to avoid surgery.
It is important to note that sideways wisdom teeth growth can lead to a variety of complications, including infection, decay, and damage to surrounding teeth. In some cases, leaving the teeth in place can also lead to the development of cysts or tumors. Therefore, it is important to consult with an oral surgeon or dentist if you suspect that your wisdom teeth are growing in sideways.
Surgical Extraction of Sideways Wisdom Teeth
Surgical extraction of sideways wisdom teeth involves small incisions in the gums, after which the tooth is carefully removed. After the procedure, you may experience pain and swelling around the affected area, so your oral surgeon may recommend ice packs and pain relievers. Most patients with sideways wisdom teeth extraction can return to their normal activities within a week.
It is important to note that sideways wisdom teeth can cause a variety of dental problems if left untreated. These problems can include gum disease, tooth decay, and even damage to surrounding teeth. Therefore, it is recommended that patients with sideways wisdom teeth undergo surgical extraction as soon as possible.
During the procedure, your oral surgeon will use local anesthesia to numb the affected area. In some cases, general anesthesia may be used to ensure the patient’s comfort. The length of the procedure will depend on the complexity of the extraction, but most surgeries are completed within an hour.
Recovery After Surgery for Sideways Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Recovery after surgery for sideways wisdom teeth extraction involves following the instructions given by your oral surgeon carefully. This includes avoiding strenuous activities, eating soft foods, and taking prescribed medication as instructed. While most patients recover without complications, it’s critical to keep the extraction area clean and avoid smoking or drinking through a straw to avoid infection.
It’s also important to note that swelling and discomfort are common after surgery, but can be managed with ice packs and pain medication. Your oral surgeon may also recommend rinsing your mouth with salt water to promote healing and reduce inflammation. It’s normal to experience some bleeding for the first few days, but if it persists or becomes heavy, contact your oral surgeon immediately.
Additionally, it’s recommended to schedule a follow-up appointment with your oral surgeon to ensure proper healing and to remove any stitches that may have been used during the procedure. It’s important to continue practicing good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing gently around the extraction site, to prevent infection and promote healing.
Complications and Risks Associated with Sideways Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Complications and risks associated with sideways wisdom teeth extraction include nerve damage, dry socket, infection, swelling, and bleeding. Your oral surgeon will carefully monitor your condition and provide detailed post-operative care instructions to minimize these risks.
In addition to the risks mentioned above, there is also a possibility of damage to adjacent teeth during the extraction process. This can occur if the wisdom tooth is located close to the neighboring tooth, and the extraction process puts pressure on it. Your oral surgeon will take precautions to prevent this from happening, but it is important to be aware of this potential risk.
Preventing Future Problems with Your Wisdom Teeth
The best way to prevent sideways wisdom teeth growth is to maintain good dental hygiene, visit your dentist regularly, and have regular x-rays. Additionally, if you’re experiencing discomfort or pain in the back of your mouth, consult your dentist as soon as possible to avoid further complications.
In conclusion, dealing with wisdom teeth growing sideways can be a painful and frustrating experience. However, by understanding the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options, you can keep your wisdom teeth under control and avoid complications in the future.
Another way to prevent future problems with your wisdom teeth is to consider having them removed before they cause any issues. This is a common practice for many people, especially if their wisdom teeth are impacted or growing in at an angle. Your dentist or oral surgeon can discuss the best course of action for your specific situation.
It’s also important to note that smoking and using tobacco products can increase your risk of developing problems with your wisdom teeth. If you’re a smoker, quitting can not only improve your overall health, but it can also help prevent future dental issues.