Impacted Wisdom Tooth: What You Should Know

Posted by on Sep 29, 2014

Impacted Wisdom Tooth: What You Should Know

A tooth is considered impacted when it is unable to pass through the gums or has only partially emerged through the gums. An impacted tooth usually occurs when a person’s teeth are overcrowded, leaving no room for a new tooth to come through. Our wisdom teeth are the usual victims of becoming impacted, as they typically grow in tilted or displaced as they pass through the gums.

The human species evolved to have wisdom teeth back in a time when dental hygiene was not practiced (a horrible time!) and when people were more likely to lose teeth. But in today’s society with an abundance of dental care, we don’t need wisdom teeth. Often, they do more harm to our dental health than good, especially if they become impacted.

The Risks and Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Impacted wisdom teeth could cause gum disease, damage to neighboring teeth, tooth decay (caused by the inability to brush teeth where the partially impacted tooth has tilted) and some rare bone destroying cysts.

If you suspect that you have an impacted wisdom tooth, look for the following symptoms:

  • pain where your wisdom tooth should be
  • red and swollen gums
  • swelling around the jaw
  • bad breath
  • unpleasant taste in your mouth, and
  • headache

It is important to report impacted wisdom tooth symptoms, as early as possible, to be further diagnosed by your dentists.

wisdom tooth

Diagnosis and Treatment

Usually, a panoramic dental x-ray is ordered by the dentist to confirm the presence of an impacted tooth. Once confirmed, you may discuss possible treatment plans with your dentist.

To prevent damage to the adjacent teeth or further tooth decay, it’s common for an impacted tooth is surgically extracted. Before extraction, your dentist will thoroughly explain the upcoming procedure. Be sure to clarify procedures that you do not understand beforehand so that you do not panic during treatment. After the extraction, the dentist will provide you with a set of going-home instructions that you’ll need to carefully follow in order to take care of your gums where your impacted wisdom tooth was removed.

When you are recovering from extraction, be sure to immediately report any signs of complications, such as excessive bleeding, infection, and tenderness, to your dentist.

It’s good to prevent possible illnesses before they even occur. So if your dentist suggests for you to have your impacted wisdom tooth removed to avoid further complications, then be sure to take that advice to heart so that you can avoid unnecessary pain in the future.