Impacted wisdom teeth affect 9 out of every 10 U.S. residents, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS).
Also known as the rear molars, these teeth frequently become impacted due to overcrowding in the mouth. If your teeth don’t have enough room to emerge properly, they become trapped in the gums.
So how do you know if your wisdom teeth are impacted?
Not everyone has symptoms, but in many cases, specific warning signs are noticeable.
Pain Is Common with Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Impacted teeth often result in painful or tender areas in the gums, and a throbbing sensation or pressure at the back of the mouth.
The pain may also extend into the jaw. For some patients, this is severe enough to cause headaches or even migraines. Pain from impacted molars may increase when chewing or biting, and it can make it difficult to open your mouth.
It’s important to note that pain may not be present consistently when your wisdom teeth are impacted. It can occur for several days and then disappear, returning weeks or months later.
Impacted Teeth Signs in the Gums and Mouth
Red and swollen gum tissue is another common warning sign of impacted molars, and you also may notice bleeding from the gums. Swelling of the jaw area is another warning sign.
When the rear molars do not erupt through the gums properly, the teeth become difficult to keep clean. As a result, bacteria can easily build up, leading to infection. An infection in an impacted wisdom tooth can cause bad breath and an unpleasant taste in your mouth, no matter how often you brush and floss.
Do You Think You Have Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
If you are experiencing any warning signs of a problem, prompt treatment from an experienced oral surgeon is critical.
Left untreated, impacted teeth can cause serious dental complications.
The third molars often grow in at an angle, which can damage neighboring teeth. And in some cases, fluid-filled cysts or tumors can develop around the base of the teeth. As cysts grow, they can hollow out the bone and severely weaken the jaw. They also may damage facial nerves and prevent normal jaw function.
Because impacted teeth can result in serious dental issues, many experts advise all young adults — even those with no symptoms — to have a qualified oral surgeon do an evaluation. The experienced doctors of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, serving the greater Salt Lake City area, can perform a thorough exam and recommend any treatment that may be necessary.
Contact our office today to schedule a consultation, and to discuss any potential problems you may have as a result of impacted wisdom teeth.