Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Dental Health
By: Spirit Dental
July 10, 2019

Woman rubbing her jaw in pain

Wisdom teeth, the last ones to grow in when you’re an adult, are notorious for causing problems. Many people end up with impacted wisdom teeth that require treatment or removal  to avoid oral health complications.

How can you know if you have one or more impacted wisdom teeth? Check out this list of some of the main symptoms to learn more about the issues that these teeth might cause.


Different Types of Impactions

First off, it’s important to cover the fact that there are different types of wisdom tooth impactions  , and the type of impaction that you have may affect the symptoms that you experience.

  • If a wisdom tooth is lying completely on its side, at a 90° angle, it’s called a horizontal impaction.
  • If a wisdom tooth is facing the front of your mouth or angled forward, it’s called a mesioangular impaction.
  • If a wisdom tooth is facing the back of your mouth or angled away from the rest of your teeth, it’s called a distoangular impaction.
  • If a wisdom tooth hasn’t erupted completely through the gums, despite being on the correct angle, it’s called a vertical impaction.

Note: A big problem with wisdom teeth is that they can be harder to keep clean, especially when they are impacted. They’re way in the back of your mouth after all! So, if you aren’t really diligent about your oral hygiene routine and dental checkups, those teeth might be at a greater risk of decay and gum disease  .

What Are the Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

An impacted wisdom tooth could cause a host of problems. For example, it might end up damaging nearby teeth, or it might become infected.

If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, let your dentist know, as they might indicate that you have an impacted tooth:

  • Gums that are red, tender, bleeding, or swollen
  • Swelling, tenderness, stiffness, or pain in the jaw
  • Jaw ache or headache
  • Pain or difficulty when opening the mouth
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth, particularly when eating
  • Bad breath
  • Swollen lymph nodes within your neck

Or, you might not experience any symptoms! That’s why it’s wise to see your dentist on a regular basis. The x-rays that are taken during checkups will help your dentist get a good look at your wisdom teeth. And an oral examination can also alert him or her to any other indications that your wisdom teeth are doing more harm than good.

The Severity of the Symptoms Might Serve as a Clue

If there is pain, swelling, or an infection that’s being caused by an impacted wisdom tooth, it is likely going to be pretty intense. For example, you might experience throbbing pain that radiates from the back of your mouth in the area of an impacted wisdom tooth. And the pain might become increasingly more severe as other teeth become affected. Ouch!

Note: In more serious, and rare, cases, a cyst or a (usually benign) tumor might form around an impacted wisdom tooth. These can cause damage to other teeth, as well as the jaw and nerves. Scary for sure!

Don’t Hesitate to See Your Dentist

Just remember, seeing your dentist  regularly is important, not only for keeping your gums strong and your teeth cavity-free but also for getting x-rays to keep an eye on your wisdom teeth. Plus, your dentist might figure out that something is wrong before you even start having symptoms!

Getting the problem of impacted wisdom teeth treated sooner rather than later is the way to go, as doing so may help reduce the risk of other problems developing. We know it can be stressful to think that you might need to have a wisdom tooth extracted. But it will be worth it if it means you eliminate unpleasant symptoms and the complications that would occur if the tooth were left alone to get worse.



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