What is an Impacted Wisdom Tooth
Why do people get wisdom teeth and what is an impacted wisdom tooth? Called wisdom teeth as they’re the last teeth to emerge, wisdom teeth usually appear between the ages of 17 – 21. These teeth were originally designed to help humans eat uncooked meat, nuts, and roots, which used to be a lot harder to chew than it is now. Given that our jaws no longer have to work quite as hard to chew food, many people’s mouth and jawbones are a lot smaller than they used to be. This often creates a lot of trouble come wisdom tooth time, as the teeth have no room to grow – resulting in impacted wisdom teeth. In today’s blog on ‘What is an impacted wisdom tooth?’, we take a look at the top signs you have impacted wisdom teeth and the complications that can arise if left without treatment.
What is an impacted wisdom tooth: Signs and symptoms
Pain or infection
One of the biggest warning signs that you have impacted wisdom teeth is persistent pain or infection in your mouth. If there’s not enough room in your mouth, your wisdom tooth can start to grow at a strange angle and push onto your other teeth. The pain you feel may occur where the wisdom teeth are erupting, or from points in your mouth that are feeling the brunt of the pressure such as nearby teeth.
Swollen gums can be both a sign that a wisdom tooth is coming through or a sign of impact. If the back of your gums is feeling a little tender and sore and you’re due for your wisdom teeth to come through, it’s worth getting an X-ray done to see what angle the teeth are coming in. Though the wisdom teeth might be growing in normally, many dentists recommend removing them as new teeth can change the alignment of your bite. This is especially advised for patients who have spent money on teeth straightening, as wisdom teeth can quickly wreak havoc on all that hard work.
Stiffness in the jaw
Impacted wisdom teeth puts a lot of pressure onto the rest of your teeth, which can result in your bite being misaligned. This may make the jaw feel stiff and sore and make it difficult to open and move. If left for long enough, an improperly aligned bite can lead to significant TMJ issues.
What is an impacted wisdom tooth?: Common complications
A partially erupted wisdom tooth can make it difficult to properly clean the area, as it leaves room open for food to get trapped around the gums. This collection of bacteria can then quickly leave nearby teeth susceptible to tooth decay, which left unchecked can cause permanent damage to the tooth.
Much like an impacted wisdom tooth can cause tooth decay, so too, can it wreak havoc on your gums. Not being able to properly remove food from between your teeth leaves room for bacteria, which is a breeding ground for gum disease. Caught early, and gum disease can be fixed with a round of antibiotics. However, if ignored, gum disease can lead to periodontitis, which is known to cause loss of tissue and bone.
Though often a rare complication, cysts can develop when the sac of the wisdom tooth fills up with liquid. This can then cause damage to the roots of the tooth, which can lead to infection, loss of teeth or bone destruction.
Impacted wisdom teeth can make it difficult for a person to eat, as both the pressure on the teeth and the injury points of eruption can cause quite a deal of pain. Add in jaw stiffness (another common symptom of impacted wisdom teeth) and eating can quickly become a chore.
Impacted wisdom teeth treatment
If your dental X-ray shows that your wisdom teeth are impacted, your dentist will likely recommend surgical removal – especially if you are showing any of the above symptoms. Surgical removal will either involve sedation or anaesthesia and will typically be performed as an outpatient procedure. Impacted wisdom teeth treatment offers a quick recovery, with a day or two’s rest is all that’s required to get back to normal.
Experiencing pain or discomfort with your teeth and think wisdom teeth might be the culprit? You can contact Gympie Road Dental General Dentistry on (07) 3915 8888 or book an appointment online, and a member of our friendly team will get in touch shortly.