Wisdom teeth typically erupt in your late teens or within the first few years of your twenties. When there is enough space in your mouth, they break through your gums without causing any issues. However, when your wisdom teeth do not have enough space to erupt and grow, they are referred to as impacted and they can be painful. They can also cause overcrowding of your teeth by pushing your existing teeth together. This is because impacted wisdom teeth may grow in at an angle and put pressure on your molars. When overcrowding occurs, plaque build-up can increase, enamel can be damaged, and your teeth can move out of alignment, which can affect your bite. Here's an overview of the symptoms caused by impacted wisdom teeth and the treatment approach recommended by dentists.
Aside from pain, impacted wisdom teeth can cause localised swelling and redness along the gum line. Your gums may also bleed at the site of your wisdom teeth when you brush your teeth, and you may notice feelings of pressure or discomfort when chewing. Some people with impacted wisdom teeth also develop bad breath.
Your dentist will diagnose impacted wisdom teeth by taking details of your symptoms and carrying out a thorough oral health check. They will also take X-rays to see how your wisdom teeth look under the gum line and determine whether they are growing in straight or at an angle. The most common approach to dealing with impacted wisdom teeth is to remove the wisdom teeth. Your dentist may recommend removing some or all of them depending on how they are growing and whether you have enough space. If you have to have them all out, this can be dome in a single appointment. Wisdom tooth extraction is carried out using local anesthetic, and your dentist will make a small incision in your gum at the site of each wisdom tooth and remove it before closing the incision with dissolvable stitches.
The only time your dentist would recommend a different approach to dealing with impacted wisdom teeth is if you have a wisdom tooth growing in straight next to a molar with severe decay. In this situation, your dentist may recommend you have the molar removed, which will give the wisdom tooth room to grow in and replace a decayed tooth with a healthy tooth.
If you have symptoms associated with impacted wisdom teeth, schedule an appointment with your dentist for a check-up.