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Warning Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth in your mouth to emerge. These teeth first develop between the ages of 17 to 25.
Impacted wisdom teeth can occur when one or more of your third molars have no room to enter the arch, are misaligned or are growing at an angle that keeps them from fully erupting.
What causes a wisdom tooth to be impacted?
An impacted wisdom tooth occurs when the skin, soft tissue or bone in the jaw covers most of the physical tooth. An impacted wisdom tooth can slightly come through the gums. It is not unusual for it to pop up through one day and go down the next.
The movement of an impacted wisdom tooth often leaves room for air to enter the pocket. This opening allows for bacteria growth and leads to far more painful infections.
Symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth
Impacted wisdom teeth do not always have symptoms, so you could have an impacted tooth and not realize it.
If symptoms do occur, it is usually the result of the gum on top of the tooth becoming infected or swollen. Symptoms may include:
While several dental issues may cause jaw pain, an impacted wisdom tooth can lead to pain through the jaw and skull, resulting in terrible headaches. Pain could be more intense while chewing, primarily if pain shoots to the back of the mouth or adjacent teeth.
Jaw pain can also lead to swelling of the entire jaw area. This type of jaw pain indicates a dangerous impaction, as the tooth may be causing infection or damage to the nerves around it. A visibly swollen jawline is a definitive way to tell that something is wrong with the tooth.
Sore or bleeding gums
Impacted wisdom teeth are serious, and your overall dental health may begin to deteriorate if one occurs. Jaw and tooth pain often radiates throughout the facial area, so the gums can also be affected. Sore or bleeding gums, primarily when the bleeding occurs easily, is a sign that something is going wrong with the teeth. Tender and swollen gums in the back of the mouth generally indicate that the problem is in the wisdom teeth area.
Bad tastes and smells
When wisdom teeth are impacted, bacteria often become trapped in the soft folds of the teeth and gums. Oral bacteria multiply rapidly in dark, damp areas, such as the back of the mouth. Infections may begin when bacteria enter these folds.
These infections can worsen and lead to cysts and decay. A person experiencing tooth decay or excessive bacteria will notice a bad taste in their mouth, even while chewing other food. Also, the infection can lead to terrible bad breath that may be noticed by other people.
Other signs of impacted wisdom
Contact your dentist if you have:
- Pain in the back of the mouth
- Swollen glands
- Difficulty opening the mouth
- Ongoing earaches
When to have wisdom teeth removed
Although fewer dentists are recommending extraction in all cases, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons recommends that wisdom teeth in all young adults be evaluated for removal or ongoing care. As a preventative measure, many people have their wisdom teeth removed before problems arise.
If you or your children are within the age range of 17-21, then call our office for an evaluation. We can check the wisdom teeth and prevent serious harm before it forms.
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