Impacted Wisdom Teeth: Symptoms & Causes

Woman suffering from teeth pain on white backgroundThe last teeth to erupt (or not erupt!) are your third molars, and they are commonly referred to as your wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth do not always require extraction because occasionally third molars will erupt, align and function properly. However, more often than not, wisdom teeth will not erupt and will become impacted, causing pain and other troublesome symptoms. It is best to schedule a consultation with an oral surgeon to determine if extraction is necessary. 

What are Impacted Wisdom Teeth and What Causes Them to be Impacted?

Impacted wisdom teeth are those that emerge partially from the gum or those that remain fully under the gums. Many jaws do not have the proper amount of room to accommodate another set of molars. Therefore, these teeth become impacted because there just isn't enough room in which to grow or because they have become trapped under existing teeth. Many times impacted wisdom teeth will grow at an angle.

What are Common Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

Impacted wisdom teeth don't always show symptoms. However, when infection or other dental problems occur due to impacted wisdom teeth, you may experience:

  • Tender, bleeding and/or inflamed gums
  • Jaw pain
  • Bad breath
  • Issues with opening the mouth

During the period when wisdom teeth erupt or show symptoms of being impacted, it is important to continue annual checkups/hygiene as this provides the opportunity for monitoring their emergence and any possible issues. X-rays can reveal impacted wisdom teeth before the development of any accompanying and annoying symptoms.

Why Continue to Suffer with Painful Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

Repeated infections, discomfort and gum disease can result from impacted wisdom teeth. Your dentist will refer you to a board-certified oral surgeon for wisdom teeth surgery. Wisdom-teeth removal is a common practice as an estimated 5 million Americans have their wisdom teeth extracted annually. It is the only way to permanently relieve you of pain and symptoms.  In most cases, surgery is an outpatient procedure requiring local or general anesthesia. Patients will return home following the surgery which typically takes less than an hour to perform. While patients can return to regular activities in only a few days, it may take six weeks for the sutured area to entirely heal. Pain medication may be prescribed to reduce discomfort during the healing process. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are also effective pain relievers. Following the removal of impacted wisdom teeth, you can expect improved oral health.  

Contact Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery at one of our convenient locations in Conroe, The Woodlands, Spring, Magnolia or Huntsville, TX to learn more about impacted wisdom teeth extractions.