An impacted wisdom tooth is a dental concern because this condition causes the third molar — most adults have four of these molars, two on top and two on the bottom — to come in at an angle or have issues erupting completely.
The main cause of impacted wisdom teeth, which can affect all the teeth or only a few, is lack of space. Many people don’t have enough jaw length to allow for the eruption of a wisdom tooth, causing the tooth to force its way out of the gums unnaturally.
If you have impacted wisdom teeth, it’s best to have them removed as soon as possible by your oral surgeon. Here are reasons why impacted wisdom teeth are a problem.
Impacted teeth cause pain
As an impacted wisdom tooth attempts to break through the gums at odd angles, you can experience severe gum and nerve pain. This is because the tooth itself may rub against the roots of other erupted teeth or may linger just at the surface of the gums, causing irritation and swelling.
If an impacted wisdom tooth causes the gums to tear or bleed, infection becomes a concern. A gum infection can affect the roots and nerves of other teeth, leading to cavities, rotting teeth, or other serious dental issues.
Impacted teeth cause alignment issues
In the event an impacted wisdom tooth does fully or partially erupt, the space taken by the unwelcome tooth can cause crowding or change the alignment of other existing teeth. This means not only will the wisdom tooth need to be removed to free up jaw and gum space, other teeth may need to be repaired in the process as well.
Signs of an impacted tooth
Signs of an impacted wisdom tooth include the following:
- Slow or halted tooth eruption
- Swelling of gums
- Pain in the jaws
- Uneven tooth eruption
- Sores where partially erupted teeth rub on cheek lining
If you have an impacted wisdom tooth, visit your general dentist. Our dental professionals at North Coast Dental Excellence will evaluate your smile and see what measures of wisdom tooth removal will be best for your oral needs.