Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars at the back of your mouth. You usually grow two on top and two on the bottom. Not everyone has trouble, but sometimes there isn’t enough room for them. This may cause the wisdom teeth to remain below the gum line, causing pain. If they do emerge, they may crowd or damage other teeth. They’re hard to clean and prone to cavities.
When wisdom teeth are impacted, they are usually removed. Even if the tooth isn’t causing problems now, removal prevents problems in the future. Check below for the symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth and when to see the dentist.
Symptoms of An Impacted Wisdom Tooth
Unfortunately for many people, wisdom teeth are nothing but trouble. They become infected, damage other teeth, and get cavities.
You may find your gums are red, swollen, and tender. They may bleed when you brush and floss. Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth are signs something is wrong. You can develop swelling of your jaw accompanied by pain, and it might hurt to open your mouth. Infections can also cause your lymph nodes to swell.
Sometimes you’ll discover there’s a flap of gum covering the tooth as it grows in. This can trap food and bacteria underneath, which can lead to infection.
If you experience the symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth, it’s time to see the dentist.
The most common treatment for an impacted wisdom tooth is surgical removal. Don’t be surprised if the surgeon recommends removing all four at once, even if only one is bothering you. If one tooth is causing problems, there’s a good chance the others will too.
Surgery is done under heavy sedation or general anesthesia. You’ll go home with medication and be advised how to manage any swelling or pain.
You may be anxious about surgery, but a skilled oral surgeon will address your concerns. Working together, you can create a plan with which you’re comfortable.
There’s no way to prevent impacted wisdom teeth. There may be evolutionary or genetic reasons, but they either grow correctly or don’t. If the teeth remain below the gumline, you have no way of knowing if there’s trouble until it’s too late. Even if they don’t emerge, wisdom teeth can damage other teeth and cause severe infection.
It’s vital to be proactive. Have your dentist take x-rays to determine what’s going on beneath your gums. The best time to check starts at around age 17, but it’s never too late for an evaluation. If you’re already experiencing symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth, call the dentist right away. We’ll be happy to answer any questions about impacted wisdom teeth and make the best recommendations for your individual needs. Feel free to call our dentist in San Diego, CA at 858-999-8550.