One of the most painful and problematic dental issues that one can experience is when wisdom teeth are growing sideways. In fact, we have come to find out that many of our patients who experience this issue have some of the worst experiences with wisdom tooth problems.
This issue is formally known as horizontal impaction (but you will find that it is commonly referred to as horizontally impacted wisdom teeth as well). If you think that this is an issue that you’re being faced with, you should know that the only way to determine whether this is the case is to have a dental x-ray done where the position of the tooth can be seen in its entirety.
There are a lot of things that you should know if your wisdom teeth grow in sideways, from why it has happened to what you can do to treat it. This guide will not only cover these topics, but everything in between as well so that way you’re not left in the dark.
Why are my wisdom teeth horizontal?
Impacted wisdom teeth that grow horizontally happens due to spacing issues within your mouth. There is simply no way for them to grow in properly because there’s not enough open space, and as a result, wisdom teeth are horizontal (or even crooked if they’re able to break the surface).
Wisdom teeth that grow in sideways (horizontal impaction) lie parallel with your jawbone and don’t break through the surface of the gum. You can’t visibly see the issue due to this, which is what makes it one of the more difficult dental problems to notice without the help of your dentist.
What happens if your wisdom teeth grow in sideways?
Now at you know that when a wisdom tooth grows in sideways that it could be one of the worst types of problems of its kind, let’s take a closer look into some of the issues specifically. Remember, if you have a wisdom tooth growing in sideways, or experience any of the below problems, you will want to seek out the help of an experienced oral surgeon so that a resolution can be brought forward.
· Could lead to Periocorinitis.
Many people think that Periocoronitis is only a risk when your wisdom teeth grow in crooked or only erupt from the gumline partially, but this isn’t the case by any means. Horizontally impacted wisdom teeth also have the risk of causing your gum tissue to swell or to become infected. There is also the risk of gum flaps developing.
If a gum flap develops, or you experience pain in the back of your mouth where your wisdom teeth are supposed to grow in, extraction may be the only solution. Any swelling, pain, or bleeding where your gum line is could be a sign that you need dental treatment immediately.
· Damage could occur to the teeth surrounding the wisdom tooth that is sideways.
Not only do you have to worry about a sideways wisdom tooth shifting the other teeth out of alignment in your mouth, but it could also lead to decay of your other teeth as well as the infection spreading to them.
In time, what this can do is lead your other teeth to the point of not being repairable. To prevent this, it is important that you remove the wisdom tooth as soon as possible. Not to mention, your dentist may have to perform other work as necessary to prevent your other teeth from experiencing negative effects.
· Jaw cyst formation (dental cysts) could become an issue.
While this does rarely happen, it’s more likely to happen when you have a wisdom tooth that grows in sideways. You will also find that dental cysts can be accompanied by pain and swelling alongside the formation of the jaw cyst itself.
Left untreated, this could lead to further complications with your oral health including the possibility that your other teeth could become damaged from it. In fact, if it could even get to the point where surgery could be required in order to remove part of your jaw due to bone damage, and it could even lead to the formation of a tumor.
· Older adults could be at higher risks of infection.
While at any age you could experience negative impacts from a wisdom tooth that comes in sideways, our bodies tend to handle things differently as we get older. With that said, those who are older will have a higher chance of getting an infection than those who are younger.
Not only is there a higher risk of infection, but the likelihood of the infection affecting other parts of your body are high as well. This is one of the biggest reasons that dentists recommend that you have your wisdom teeth taken out in your younger years than waiting for something to happen when you get older.
· Pain could arise as a result of a horizontally impacted wisdom tooth.
This is usually the sign that an infection is setting in, but it can also be due to the improper growth of the wisdom tooth itself. If you experience any pain where your wisdom teeth are supposed to be but don’t see the tooth itself or it’s barely breaking the surface, chances are that this is where the root of your problem lies.
· Periodontal problems could surface in the area of the impacted wisdom tooth.
It has become known that those who have impacted wisdom teeth are more prone to periodontal (gum) disease than those who have had their molars removed. This is because their location makes it hard for them to be cleaned the way that they need to be.
In the event that you do experience periodontal problems due to impacted wisdom teeth, you will have to undergo further treatment to ensure that it gets resolved. While extraction will take care of the source of the problem, there are other measures that will have to be taken as well.
· Your teeth could become crowded and cause a need for braces.
When wisdom teeth are growing in sideways, they tend to push up against the teeth that are next to them which causes misalignment. If you have had braces already, you can expect this to create a need to have braces again.
In cases where you may not have had braces before, it could still cause misalignment and force you to seek out options to straighten your teeth. Whatever the case may be, you can expect this to add up to additional costs for dental care. Instead of taking the risk and letting other symptoms pan out, it is best to get a sideways wisdom tooth extracted before it has a chance to affect the other teeth in your mouth.
Do horizontally impacted wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Any wisdom tooth that is impacted should be removed, and there shouldn’t be any hesitation in doing so as it could lead to serious issues in the long run. When it comes to horizontally impacted wisdom teeth, they can end up causing a lot more damage.
In order to have a wisdom tooth that is growing in sideways removed, you will need to seek out the help of a surgical dentist. The reason for this is that it is more extensive than a simple extraction, and you will be given more than just a local anesthetic making it something unattainable by a general dentist who is only capable of providing preventive care and simple extractions that don’t require oral surgery.
Do I need a referral for a wisdom tooth extraction?
This depends upon your insurance company and what requirements they have set forth when it comes to seeing an oral surgeon. If you have a primary dentist that you see for regular checkups, it will be likely that they will have to refer you to an oral surgeon. However, with a full-service dental office, they usually have experienced oral surgeons on staff to help you in your time of need.
The best way to determine whether you need a referral is to speak with your dentist or insurance company to clarify what your specific requirements are. You may end up having to pay some of the cost yourself dependent upon your coverage limits. If you don’t have insurance, you can usually call the office of an oral surgeon and schedule your appointment directly.
Will my insurance help pay for wisdom teeth removal?
Yes, because it is looked at the same way as all of the other extractions are looked at. Since wisdom teeth do have a chance to cause other issues, it is usually looked at as a necessary procedure. Keep in mind that every insurance company is different, but we rarely see a case where the insurance company refuses to help with the costs of this type of extraction.
If you don’t have insurance or you find that your insurance won’t cover the procedure, you could always embrace in-house dental financing with the dentist that you intend to see. This will help you cover the cost of the procedure (often with no money upfront) and pay it out monthly over a set amount of time.
Impacted Wisdom Tooth Extraction in Houston
If you’re in the Houston area, we would like to hear from you if you need to have your wisdom teeth removed as we have extensive experience (over 15 years) helping our patients deal with every type of impaction. Not to mention, we aim to provide a straightforward approach and comfortable experience at the best prices possible. Just give us a call or send us a contact request here on our website.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Are horizontal wisdom teeth hard to remove?
For a skilled oral surgeon, wisdom teeth that are growing in sideways can be done rather easily but there are times where the procedure requires a more complex approach. It depends upon the direction in which the tooth is growing as well as whether there has been any other damage caused by it. This will also be explained further during your visit to your dentist.
How do you know if you have a wisdom tooth infection?
Look for your gums being red in the area where your wisdom teeth are, swelling, as well as any pain in the back of your mouth. These are all signs that there could be wisdom tooth infection that you will need to get taken care of by your dentist.
Is it normal for wisdom teeth to grow sideways?
Believe it or not, sideways wisdom teeth are more common than you might think. It’s a type of impaction that is caused by a lack of space for them to grow in properly. Very rarely do wisdom teeth grow in as they’re supposed to, and most people don’t have a big enough mouth to comfortably fit their wisdom teeth.
Is wisdom teeth good or bad?
If you’re lucky enough for them to grow properly without becoming impacted or affecting your other teeth, they can be a good thing. However, if they do become impacted, they could lead to a wide variety of complications such as gum disease, pain, and swelling.
What happens if your wisdom teeth grow in crooked?
They could easily push your other teeth out of alignment as well as cause other dental issues. Any time that wisdom teeth grow in crooked, it’s best for you to have a conversation with your dentist about getting them removed. The sooner you catch it, the better off you will be in the long run.
Will a rotten wisdom tooth fall out?
In most cases, your molars will not fall out on your own creating a need for you to have an extraction done. Not only will it become an uncomfortable experience, but it could also cause bone and tissue damage which would create a need for further treatment than if you were to have it extracted before it had a chance to do so.