According to the American Dental Association, impacted wisdom teeth are third molars that do not erupt fully or at all. They often become stuck in the jawbone and can affect other teeth, causing several problems such as crowding of other teeth and infection.
In this article, we’ll look at the signs and symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth, as well as treatments available for removing them. We’ll also discuss potential risks and complications that can arise after the extraction of wisdom teeth and tips on how to maintain healthy wisdom teeth.
What are Impacted Wisdom Teeth and Why Are They Problematic
Impacted wisdom teeth are third molars or extra teeth that grow in at the back of your mouth. When these extra teeth don’t have enough space to erupt properly, they become stuck within the jawbone and can cause crowding in other teeth. This crowding can lead to infection and pain as well as difficulty in brushing and flossing your teeth.
Signs and Symptoms of an Impacted Wisdom Tooth
Some common signs and symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth include:
- Pain in the jaw or surrounding area
- Swelling in the gums near the impacted tooth
- Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
- Difficulty opening your mouth fully
- Redness and bleeding around the involved tooth
Treatments for Impacted Wisdom Teeth
When it comes to treatments for impacted wisdom teeth, there are a few options available including:
- Removal of the tooth – this is the most common treatment option and involves removing the tooth completely to prevent future problems.
- Orthodontic braces – this treatment option is used to provide extra space in your mouth for the impacted tooth and can help reduce crowding.
- Splinting – this involves attaching a small wire or plate to the gum tissue around the impacted tooth to keep it stable and prevent further infection.
Potential Risks and Complications after Wisdom Teeth Removal
Although the removal of wisdom teeth is a relatively safe procedure, there are still some potential risks and complications that may occur after the extraction including:
- Infection – This can occur if bacteria enter the wound and can lead to pain, swelling, and fever.
- Dry socket – This occurs when the blood clot that forms in the area after the extraction fails to form or breaks down prematurely, leading to pain and discomfort.
- Nerve damage – If the tooth is located close to a nerve, it can be damaged during the extraction process leading to pain, numbness, or tingling in the affected area.
Tips for Maintaining Healthy Wisdom Teeth
The best way to maintain healthy wisdom teeth is to practice good oral hygiene habits such as brushing and flossing regularly and visiting your dentist as recommended. Additionally, you should avoid hard foods that can put extra pressure on your wisdom teeth, and you should also watch out for any signs or symptoms that may indicate the presence of an impacted wisdom tooth.
Another way to protect your wisdom teeth is by getting regular dental X-rays. These can help detect any potential problems or complications before they become more serious and allow your dentist to begin treatment as soon as possible.
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a variety of problems, but understanding them is the first step in knowing how to deal with them. If you experience any of the signs or symptoms associated with impacted wisdom teeth, it’s important to contact your dentist right away so that they can assess the situation and begin treatment if necessary. Additionally, following good oral hygiene habits and getting regular dental X-rays can help prevent potential problems from occurring in the first place.