As the last teeth to emerge, wisdom teeth generally erupt between 17-25 years of age. As these “third molars” develop, it’s believed that they can affect teeth around them, especially if they come in partially. In this case, wisdom teeth are considered impacted. While impacted wisdom teeth are common, they can lead to more serious dental concerns.
For the record–some wisdom teeth emerge causing no pain or problems. Yet, dental professionals have noted that as most wisdom teeth emerge, they push on the neighboring tooth, which pushes on the next tooth. This can lead to misalignment of an individual’s bite. For someone who has received orthodontic treatment, this becomes a greater concern.
Aside from the threat of misalignment, impacted wisdom teeth can lead to a dental disorder known as pericoronitis. For instance, a partially erupted wisdom tooth can trap food particles, becoming a pocket for plaque and debris. As bacteria are caught underneath the gum tissue, the area becomes infected. Left untreated, swelling and infection may extend to the cheeks, jaw, and neck.
When it comes to impacted wisdom teeth, there are a few symptoms patients should know about:
- Bad breath
- Tenderness or pain in or near the jaw bone
- Chronic head or jaw aches
- Inflammation or swelling around the tooth
- Bad taste near area where the tooth is emerging
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it’s a good idea to see your dentist. Through an exam and dental x-rays, your dentist can determine if your wisdom teeth are impacted and if infection is present.
At Grateful Dental, Dr. Leia Porcaro is equipped to treat every facet of your smile, at every stage. With comprehensive examinations, Dr. Porcaro is attentive to your oral health. She understands the consequences of wisdom teeth that have become impacted. You can be sure that Dr. Porcaro and the staff at Grateful Dental will go out of their way to keep you informed and comfortable at your visit. We welcome your call today.