Impacted wisdom teeth are third molars at the back of the mouth that don’t have enough room to emerge or develop normally.
Wisdom teeth are the last four of your 32 adult teeth to erupst. Most people have four wisdom teeth at the back of the mouth-two on the top, two on the bottom.
Impacted wisdom teeth can result in
- Damage to other teeth
- Other dental problems.
In some cases, impacted wisdom teeth may cause no apparent or immediate problems. But because they’re hard to clean, they may be more vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease than other teeth are.
There are several degrees of impacted wisdom teeth, based on where the teeth lie within the jaw.
- Soft tissue impaction occurs when the crown of the tooth has penetrated through the bone, but the gum is still covering part of the tooth.
- Partial bony impaction occurs when the tooth has partially erupted, but a part of the tooth remains submerged in the jawbone.
- Complete bony impaction occurs when the tooth is entirely encased by jawbone.
Impacted wisdom teeth don’t always cause symptoms in fact you could have impacted teeth and not even realize. However, when symptoms do arise, it is usually the result of the gum on top of the tooth becoming infected or swollen when an impacted wisdom tooth becomes infected it damages other teeth or causes other dental problems, you may experience some of these signs or symptoms;
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Jaw pain
- Swelling around the jaw
- Bad breath
- An unpleasant taste in your mouth
- Stiffness of the jaw or swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
If you haven’t already come in for your annual checkups do so as soon as possible. During your visit your dentist will;
- Look for swollen tissue over the area where a tooth has not emerged, or has only partially emerged.
- Whether the impacted tooth may be pressing on nearby teeth.
- Signs of infection such as redness, drainage, and tenderness.
- Swelling of the gums over the impacted wisdom teeth that result in drainage and tightening of the gums this may feel like the tooth came in and then went back down again.
- A dental x-rayswill confirm the presence of one or more teeth that have not emerged.
No treatment may be needed if the impacted tooth is not causing any problems.
Otherwise if the impacted tooth causes discomfort over the counter medication or mouthwash may relieve the pain. Warm saltwater will also provide temporary relieve. This is one-half teaspoon of salt in one cup of water.
Removal of the tooth is the usual treatment for an impacted tooth. This is done in the dentist’s office. Most often, it will be done by an oral surgeon. Antibiotics may be prescribed before the extraction if the tooth is infected.
Impacted wisdom teeth that are left untreated can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. You may also experience damage to your other teeth, including infection and overcrowding of teeth. In rare cases, impacted wisdom teeth can cause cysts and tumors.