Wisdom Teeth Woes: Are My Teeth Impacted?

Impacted Wisdom Tooth | GLOMSA

One smile is all it takes to make a great first impression. Unfortunately, impacted, crooked or painful teeth could spoil that moment. While most of your adult teeth grow in relatively normally, your wisdom teeth may be the ones causing a problem for your smile. If your wisdom teeth are largely hidden from view, though, how do you know when you need to visit an oral surgeon for an extraction?

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

By the time puberty ends, most people have undergone all the physical changes they can expect to experience throughout their normal development. However, during the late adolescent or early adulthood periods, a less noticeable change takes place. Most people have at least one set of third molars (or “wisdom teeth”) that begin to erupt in the back of their mouths during this stage of life, though they are vestigial and often serve no purpose. While the existence of wisdom teeth isn’t a problem in itself, oral health issues often arise when these teeth become impacted.

How Do I Know If My Wisdom Teeth Are Impacted?

Most human mouths aren’t large enough to accommodate all 32 teeth. When wisdom teeth attempt to grow in without proper room, they can turn on their sides or force other teeth to crowd as they erupt. If a tooth doesn’t have space to grow in, it is classified as “impacted” and should be removed to prevent further complications from arising like infection, pain or misalignment. If you aren’t sure if you have impacted wisdom teeth, keep an eye out for these symptoms to be sure.

  • Jaw or tooth pain, potentially hindering your ability to move your jaw or chew
  • Swollen gums and jaw
  • Painful, bleeding gums
  • Foul breath
  • Bad taste in your mouth

While you can’t keep wisdom teeth from becoming impacted, it’s still important you seek help if you believe you have an impaction. If left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth can cause severe damage to your mouth and other teeth, such as:

  • Decay – may occur when a wisdom tooth is only partially erupted, making it difficult to clean
  • Tooth crowding, infection or damage – common when wisdom teeth are impacted against the second set of molars
  • Pericoronitis – an inflammatory gum disease that may develop if a partially erupted wisdom tooth isn’t cleaned properly
  • Cysts – may form in the jawbone beneath the impacted tooth, causing damage to surrounding bone, tissues and nerves

There is no way to prevent wisdom tooth impaction or to treat it from home, so patients should seek a dental health professional’s help if they believe their teeth are impacted. If you visit a dentist or oral surgeon regularly and have had an x-ray taken of your teeth and jaw, you may have been told your wisdom teeth were impacted without any symptoms at all. In these cases, many surgeons will opt to simply remove the wisdom teeth before they become a problem.

Wisdom Tooth Extraction and Dental Implant Services in Louisville, KY

Whether you’re struggling with impaction pain or you simply want to take care of your wisdom teeth before they get out of hand, it’s important you find a friendly, experienced oral surgeon to help you maintain the health of your smile.

At Greater Louisville Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates, we’ve been serving Louisville and the surrounding areas for more than 35 years. We understand how nerve-wracking wisdom tooth extraction can be. That’s why we do our best to accommodate each patient’s unique needs and preferences. Contact us online or call 502-459-8012 to schedule your consultation today!

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