Impacted Wisdom Teeth: Signs & Treatment
Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars at the back of your mouth that are supposed to erupt during your late teens or early 20s. However, sometimes they're impacted, meaning they’re fully or partially trapped beneath the gum line.
What Causes Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth may be impacted if there isn’t enough room in your mouth to accommodate all 32 adult teeth. Therefore, this lack of space can cause them to grow in sideways or at an angle. Alternatively, they may remain trapped in the jawbone beneath the gum line.
Signs and Symptoms
An impacted wisdom tooth doesn’t necessarily present with symptoms. However, if the tooth becomes infected or begins to affect other teeth, you may experience some of the following:
- Swollen, tender or bleeding gums
- Pain and swelling around the jaw
- Difficulty opening your mouth
- Persistent bad breath
- An unpleasant taste in your mouth
If you notice any of these signs, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to reduce the risk of permanent damage.
Common Complications of Impaction
If a wisdom tooth comes in sideways or at an angle toward the adjacent molar, it can damage both teeth and make them vulnerable to infection. Cysts may also form around the roots. Additionally, the pressure exerted by the wisdom tooth can shift other teeth and cause crowding that requires orthodontic treatment to reverse.
Even if a wisdom tooth comes in straight, it can harm your oral health if it doesn’t fully erupt. A partially impacted tooth is difficult to clean, which increases the risk of tooth decay, gum disease and soft tissue inflammation.
Impacted Wisdom Tooth Treatment
While not all wisdom teeth need to be removed, an impacted wisdom tooth should be extracted if it becomes infected or creates other problems in your mouth. Otherwise, it may permanently damage the surrounding teeth, gums and jawbone.
To remove the wisdom tooth, your dentist will begin by administering sedation and anesthetic to ensure you don’t feel any pain during the procedure. Once your mouth is numb, an incision will be made in the gum to access the impacted tooth. Depending on its positioning, your dentist may need to break the tooth to facilitate its extraction. Once the tooth has been completely removed, your dentist will stitch up the gum tissue. Be sure to follow your dentist’s post-procedure instructions for a swift and successful recovery.
Call Us for a Wisdom Teeth Consultation in SE Calgary
If you have an impacted wisdom tooth, trust your family dentist at Forest Lawn Dental Centre. In addition to tooth extraction, we offer a variety of general and cosmetic dentistry services to help you maintain a healthy smile. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our SE Calgary clinic!