Warning Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Panoramic x-ray image of teeth and mouth with wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth are the final set of molars that typically appear in the late teens to early twenties. Because they are set deep inside the mouth, it is common for wisdom teeth to come in misaligned or to become impacted when they fail to break through the gum completely. An impacted wisdom tooth can be extremely painful and can lead to dangerous complications. You should see a dental care professional immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms.

Intense Jaw Pain

Any number of dental problems can result in jaw pain. An impacted wisdom tooth will typically cause pain that radiates to the jaw, skull, and nearby teeth. The pain is often worse when chewing and may even cause severe headaches. The pain is usually accompanied by visible swelling along the affected area of the jaw. Some people with impacted wisdom teeth experience problems opening their mouth or persistent earaches. Swelling and warmth along the jaw or swollen glands may indicate a severe infection requiring emergency dental care. If left untreated, the infection could damage adjacent teeth and nerves.

Bleeding or Sore Gums

You may have an impacted wisdom tooth if the gums at the back of your mouth are tender or bleed with little provocation. The pain can often extend to other teeth making proper dental hygiene difficult. You should see your dental care professional if you experience tender or bleeding gums.

Bad Breath, Tastes, or Smells

Impacted or poorly aligned wisdom teeth are difficult to clean and are a haven for trapped food and bacteria. Because bacteria thrive in the warm, moist environment of the mouth, an impacted wisdom tooth can lead to infections, decay, and cysts. This can result in extremely bad breath, persistent bad taste in the mouth, or complaints of bad smells that won’t go away.

Extraction is the most common treatment for impacted or misaligned wisdom teeth. A dentist or oral surgeon can remove your wisdom teeth in an in-office procedure using a local anesthetic. Depending on the complexity of the procedure, you and your dentist may also choose to use sedation to relieve anxiety. At Eagle Rock Dental Care, we are equipped to handle all of your family dental needs ranging from routine check-ups to veneers and extractions. Call us today for more information about our services, or to schedule a cleaning, exam or general checkup today!

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