Ah, wisdom teeth! If only they imparted us with the wisdom to get them removed right away! This third set of molars is the final stage of oral development, typically growing in sometime during the teen years. During routine dental visits, x-rays show us the location of these teeth beneath the gums, and their projected path of growth. For many people, there simply isn’t enough room in the mouth to accommodate wisdom teeth. This is just one of the reasons we like to schedule removal of wisdom teeth when they are visualized in diagnostic imaging.
An impacted wisdom tooth is one that just doesn’t seem to be able to find its way through gum tissues. In our Chicago dental practice, we have treated hundreds of patients with impacted wisdom teeth. If one tooth is impacted, that does not mean all are or will be.
In many situations, an impacted tooth will not even make itself known, which is why regular dental visits are important during the teenage years. While the tooth beneath the surface may be invisible, its attempts to grow in will eventually become obvious. What can occur with an impacted wisdom tooth is that it may erupt partially, lifting a flap of gum tissue. If this tissue becomes swollen and infected, pain is likely. The nerve pain that occurs from this partially erupted tooth can also cause nearby teeth to hurt or feel sensitive, or may even lead to localized facial pain or ear pain.
You may detect an impacted wisdom tooth by symptoms such as:
- Swollen gums at the back of the mouth
- Limited range of motion in the jaw
- An unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Bad breath
- Discomfort when chewing, biting, or opening the mouth.
Take heart. These symptoms are not likely a sign that you have an inoperable tumor. Chances are, you have an impacted wisdom tooth that is wreaking havoc on your oral anatomy.
Having an impacted wisdom tooth treated is very simple, and should be done before oral bacteria can cause infection or cavities in the partially erupted tooth. Wisdom tooth extraction is an uncomplicated procedure in which there is no pain. Most often, the entire visit takes only about an hour, with the extraction of the tooth or teeth taking only about thirty minutes.
Thirty minutes and your smile can be back on track at Big Smile Dental.