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How to know when you need wisdom teeth extracted
You have probably heard of people having their wisdom teeth extracted. In fact, wisdom teeth are the most commonly extracted adult teeth. However, some people’s wisdom teeth require immediate extraction, while others can stay in tact.
So, why exactly are they so commonly extracted? And how can you tell if your wisdom teeth are going to need to be removed?
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the last adult teeth to come in, usually during our late teens and early twenties. They come in at the back of the upper and lower jaws, and most of us have four of them, one in each corner of the jaw.
However, their late arrival often causes some drama, largely because once they start to come through, our other (approximately) 28 adult teeth have already erupted and taken up all of the available space.
What happens when there’s no space for my wisdom teeth?
With no space to erupt, your wisdom teeth find themselves forced to squeeze out in any gap that they can find.
Unfortunately, this often means that they come through twisted or angled. In some cases, they may partially erupt and then get completely stuck! When any of these scenarios happen, they become known as ‘impacted wisdom teeth’, and the intervention of a dental professional is required.
How do I know if my wisdom teeth have become impacted?
It can be difficult to see your wisdom teeth, since they are located so far back in the jaw.
At the same time, this doesn’t mean that impacted wisdom teeth will go unnoticed! People who have impacted wisdom teeth find themselves exhibiting a number of symptoms, including:
- Pain in the very back of the mouth, which can range from dull to severe
- Tenderness in the gum and jaw
- Redness and swelling around the impacted tooth
- Difficulty opening their mouth
- Bad breath
- Prolonged aching in the jaw and/or head
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Foul taste in the mouth
What should I do if I suspect my wisdom teeth are impacted?
If you think that your wisdom teeth may be impacted, then professional intervention is crucial.
We will be able to conduct a thorough examination of your mouth. Oftentimes, x-rays are also required to see the exact position of your teeth. Once we have determined the extent of impaction, we will be able to advise whether or not your wisdom teeth need to be removed.
It is possible to suffer with some of the symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth without requiring extraction. This is usually due to problems with the actual eruption process which can sometimes cause pain, swelling and infection.
Wisdom teeth don’t generally need to be removed if they are impacted but not causing any problems, as there is no proven benefit of doing so. However, if the impaction is causing dental problems, these could include:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease – also known as periodontal disease
- Cellulitis – a bacterial infection in the cheek, tongue or throat
- Pericoronitis – an infection in the soft tissue that surrounds the tooth
Many dental problems that occur as a result of impacted wisdom teeth can be treated using antibiotics, but if this fails to yield suitable results, extraction may be the best course of action.
If you are concerned that you are suffering from impacted wisdom teeth, make an appointment at Dr. Sam's Premier Dentistry in Sherman, TX as soon as possible. We will be able to advise what treatment you may need and start the process to alleviate your symptoms as soon as possible.