Impacted teeth affect thousands each year; yet, not many know what an impacted tooth is.
In simple terms, and impacted tooth is a tooth that fails to completely push through the gums as any normal tooth in the mouth.
In fact, impacted teeth are most common in wisdom tooth individuals, which typically develop around the ages of 17 to 21 on average.
65% of the population receive wisdom teeth at some time during this time frame, sometimes a little sooner or a little later.
Because our modern, smaller jaws typically cannot house a third set of molars, this is typically problematic, and the wisdom teeth must be removed at some point.
Around 85% of wisdom tooth individuals do in fact need to have their wisdom teeth removed before age 25. One of the main reasons these wisdom teeth must be removed is mainly due to impacted teeth, where the wisdom teeth fail to completely and safely form through the gum tissue and end up causing problems such as infections and pain in the mouth.
It’s believed that the change in our diets overtime allowed us to “evolve” to have smaller jaws, which is why we don’t require a third set of molars or need to them to productively chew, eat, and speak. Tough meats and plants of our past ancestors have been replaced with softer, processed, and cooked foods that are softer on our teeth and even easier to consume thanks to modern-day utensils.
The 35% of the population that never develop wisdom teeth are believed to be more “evolved;” however, the true reason is not known, but evolution appears to be a common belief as to why some do or don’t develop wisdom teeth at some point in their life. However, one thing is for sure: Those that do develop wisdom teeth often have them develop at odd angles or as mentioned, not even fully developed at all in the mouth. Some wisdom teeth even develop into the roots of already present teeth, causing a great deal of pain.
Whether you have an impacted tooth due to wisdom teeth or from another cause, it’s vital that you receive the proper treatment as soon as possible to prevent further pain or future damage in the mouth.