Once upon a time, our third molars – or wisdom teeth – were important. Now that this is no longer the case, most people have them removed at some point. Sometimes, these molars never break through the gum. These are known as impacted wisdom teeth and can cause problems if not dealt with.
What are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the last to emerge. In some cases, the teeth do not emerge at all or come in at an angle. These are called impacted wisdom teeth. The exact reason this happens is not known. It is believed to have something to do with a mismatch in size between your jawbone and the teeth. When teeth do not erupt, either at all or partially, they are likely being blocked by another tooth.
If you suspect your wisdom teeth are impacted, it is important to have a dental exam done. In order to definitively diagnose this condition, dental X-rays are required. This also allows us to see if the teeth have done any damage to your jawbone or surrounding teeth.
What are the Symptoms?
It is possible to have zero symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth. Unfortunately, many people experience one or more of the following unpleasant ones:
- Severe pain
- Swollen gums
- Bleeding from the gums
- Gum infection
- Tooth decay
- Bad breath
- Swelling or pain around the jaw
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Swollen lymph nodes on the neck
- Difficulty opening the mouth (in very severe cases)
The Surgical Removal Process
Symptomatic impacted wisdom teeth will need to be surgically removed. After removing the tooth, as well as whatever piece of bone was blocking it, the surgical site is sealed. If your impacted teeth are not causing you issues, you may be tempted to leave them in. It is important to know that bone is typically more flexible prior to the age of 30, which can make the surgery easier. If you start to experience symptoms later on in life, removing these teeth can be more complicated.
Get In Touch with Us for More Information
You can learn more about impacted wisdom teeth by making an appointment with San Tan Oral Surgery. At our convenient location in Gilbert, AZ, we would be glad to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to set up your consultation – we look forward to speaking with you!