Dental Blog

Wise Up About the Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

If you’ve ever had impacted wisdom teeth, you might remember the pain. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause patients so much pain that they go to desperate lengths for pain relief. Some patients, on the other hand, don’t experience noticeable symptoms and go through life without even knowing that there are growing problems in their mouths.

Between ages 17 and 25, the last four of your 32 teeth should come in. Most people don’t have enough room in their jaws for these teeth, so they will need to have them extracted. But whether you experience pain or not, only a team of professionals like the one at Precision Dentistry & Implants can determine whether you need to have them out or not.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth are Dangerous

Your wisdom teeth are your third set of molars. When they’re impacted, they do not fully erupt through the gums. This usually occurs because there isn’t enough room in your jaw for them to grow in, so they end up only poking halfway through or not at all.

This leads to an array of problems in the mouth, most of which can compromise the overall health of your other teeth, such as:

  • Damage to Adjacent Teeth – Impacted wisdom teeth can push against your second molars, giving way to infection, misalignment, or decay.
  • Gum Disease and Tooth Decay – Try to stick a toothbrush into the spaces behind your back molars. Difficult, right? Now, try to stick a piece of dental floss back there. This area is very hard to reach for most people and therefore more difficult to clean. Without proper hygiene, wisdom teeth run a great risk of developing tooth decay or gum disease.
  • Cysts – Wisdom teeth often grow in a sac located within the jaw. When this area gets filled with fluid, your body can develop painful cysts that can lead to nerve damage and this may require surgery.
  • Weakened Jaw – Your jaw is strong because all of your teeth provide support and oxygen to the bone tissue. When you have impacted wisdom teeth in bad positions, the entire structural integrity of the jaw can be weakened.

Do I Have Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

While some people experience severe pain from their impacted wisdom teeth, others may not notice anything until a dentist discovers problems with them with an x-ray. If you’re concerned that you might have impacted wisdom teeth, be on the lookout for these symptoms:

  • Pain in the back of the jaw
  • Pressure in the back of the mouth when you bite down
  • Swelling, tenderness, or redness in the gums
  • Swelling around the jaw

Other secondary symptoms can include:

  • Aches in the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) or the joint that connects the skull with the jaw
  • Persistent halitosis (bad breath)
  • Bad taste in the mouth

Wisdom Teeth Extraction

In most cases, patients with impacted wisdom teeth will need to have them removed. The process is fairly simple and can usually be completed in about an hour.

You will likely be under general anesthesia during the procedure, meaning you will be completely asleep. Your dentist will then make incisions in your gums and remove the teeth. In some cases, the teeth will need to be broken up into several pieces to avoid damaging your adjacent molars. Once your wisdom teeth are out, your dentist will stitch up your gums and place gauze in your mouth to stem the bleeding.

And that’s it!

During the week or so following your surgery, you may experience soreness and swelling in your jaw, but that should go away over time. Some patients are back to work the very next day, but some need several days to fully recover.

Either way, the pain will dissipate. And you will never have to worry about your wisdom teeth causing damage to your smile again.

See if You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

Whether you notice the symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth or not, you need to visit your dentist to determine the best treatment route for you. Make an appointment with your Kerrville dentist to take charge of your health!