Written By Stephanie McGuire / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Of all our pearly whites, the most intriguingly named would have to be our wisdom teeth. It is said that they got that name because they appear when people hit their late teen years or early twenties, an age when they’re supposed to have already gained some wisdom.
However, becoming wise isn’t really what some feel when their wisdom teeth finally come in. What they often experience are issues that can make people whose wisdom teeth haven’t appeared yet dread the day they finally decide to show up. Things could be even much worse if they have impacted wisdom teeth, which, in some cases, necessitate an emergency dental care procedure.
What Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are third molars that erupt at the back of the mouth. When there is little room for them to come in the usual way, that’s when they become impacted and turn into a problem. While other teeth can also become impacted, this oral health abnormality commonly occurs with wisdom teeth.
Wisdom teeth can be partially impacted or fully impacted. An example of the former would be a wisdom tooth with its crown peeking through the gums. On the other hand, wisdom teeth staying underneath the gums are considered fully impacted.
Impacted wisdom teeth can also grow at unusual angles. Sometimes, they grow at an angle to the back of the mouth. Some people complain of impacted wisdom teeth erupting at a right angle toward other teeth. It’s also common for an impacted tooth to emerge at an angle toward the second molar.
Early Warning Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
If your wisdom teeth are finally making an appearance, there are several signs you need to keep a lookout for so you can tell if they’re impacted or not.
- Jaw Pain and Swelling
The emergence of wisdom teeth can be accompanied by pain. That pain could feel so much worse if the wisdom teeth are impacted. If you have impacted wisdom teeth, you will likely feel pain in the jaw area. Sometimes, chewing food or the simple act of opening and closing the mouth brings no small measure of discomfort. Impacted teeth can also come with swollen gums on the side of your jaw or in the back of your mouth.
Cysts forming around an impacted wisdom tooth are not all that common, but when they occur, the teeth next to the affected wisdom tooth, bone, nerves, and other anatomic structures are at risk of damage. To find out if you have a cyst in your impacted wisdom tooth, you will need to visit your dentist for an X-ray.
- Irritated Gums
An impacted wisdom tooth that hasn’t fully grown in yet can prove extremely hard to clean, allowing bacteria to breed. The more bacteria you have in your mouth, the higher the likelihood of developing gum disease. If you have impacted wisdom teeth, chances are, your gums will look irritated and red. They may even bleed sometimes.
- Bad Breath
The fact that impacted wisdom teeth are impossible to clean thoroughly doesn’t just foster the development of gum disease. They also cause bad breath, as impacted wisdom teeth can trap food and bacteria at the back of your mouth. Aside from bad breath, you may also have a bad taste in your mouth if you have impacted wisdom teeth.
- Damage To Other Teeth
As mentioned above, an impacted wisdom tooth can grow at weird angles. If an impacted wisdom tooth grows at an angle that pushes it against the second molar, the latter could end up sustaining damage. That area’s infection risk could also rise.
Can You Prevent an Impacted Wisdom Tooth?
Sadly, modern dentistry has yet to come up with a way to prevent impacted wisdom teeth from ever occurring. The best that you can do if you have emerging wisdom teeth is to make regular visits to your dentist so he or she can monitor their development through dental X-rays. That way, you will find out if your wisdom teeth are impacted before any of the signs mentioned above manifest.
In any case, keep in mind that not everyone with impacted wisdom teeth experiences any signs or symptoms of the oral condition. Still, if you want to do something about impacted wisdom teeth once you confirm their existence, consult your dentist for options.
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Stephanie McGuire is the content writer at Glendale Dental Group, an emergency dental care office located in 4419 W. Glendale Ave Glendale, AZ 85301. When not writing, she enjoys traveling and playing volleyball with her friends.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.