In short, an impacted tooth is when there is a blockage stopping a tooth from fully erupting through the gums. Wisdom teeth can easily become impacted because they are teeth that erupt later in life when your mouth is mostly settled.
Wisdom teeth come between the ages of 17-21, while they can fully erupt in your mid 20’s. Your dentist will note these as a third molar, and they can easily become impacted when there isn’t enough room for them to flourish and grow. It’s not uncommon for wisdom teeth to come in sideways or tilted towards the jaw area. In having this positioning, you may feel pain that requires a wisdom tooth removal.
Through the grape vine, we’ve all heard that wisdom teeth can be painful, but in reality, an impacted wisdom tooth might not come with any pain at all. In fact, you might not even realize that you have an impacted wisdom tooth because it can be virtually painless. Sometimes, the only way a person notices an impacted wisdom tooth is when the flap of skin comes up during the potential eruption. After not dealing with that flap, you can become susceptible to an infection, which can cause inflammation and ghosting “ear pain”.
Having an impacted wisdom tooth can lead to other issues, though, such as pericoronitis. When you don’t treat this problem, the infection can move throughout your mouth and your neck. A more severe form of this infection requires a type of surgery in the hospital – not in the dentist’s chair.
Did you know that impacted wisdom teeth can become susceptible to cavities like normal teeth? It might not just be from eating sweets and not brushing, either. When the tooth rubs up against another tooth, and there is no cleaning in between, decay can form and cause a cavity, as well as encourage gum disease. In rare cases, cysts may form, as well as other growths in your jawline.
Symptoms of an Impacted Wisdom Tooth:
- Difficulty with opening your jaw
- Bad breath continuously, even after brushing
- A foul taste in your mouth
- Pain when chewing normally or biting in general
- Pain when you move or open your jaw
- Swelling of the gums
It’s not uncommon for pain to occur and then disappear for months.
Diagnosis of an Impacted Wisdom Tooth
When you call a professional, they will examine your mouth visually and with x-rays to determine the status of your wisdom teeth.
Expected Duration of an Impacted Wisdom Tooth
As soon as the tooth is removed, your symptoms will go away.
Prevention of Impacted Teeth
There is no way to prevent teeth from becoming impacted. It is the natural course of your mouth. Prevent cavities in your teeth by flossing and brushing at least two times a day.
Treatment of an Impacted Tooth
If you’re waiting to get your impacted wisdom teeth removed, you can relieve any irritation or pain through the use of warm salt water. When you rinse ½ teaspoon of salt in your 8-ounces of water, you’ll be able to see minor relief.
If there is infection, or the tooth pain persists, you may have to contact your local dentist and be referred to an oral surgeon. Once you have your surgery, you may see a bit of swelling and pain in that area of your jaw, and you won’t be able to eat certain foods until that area has healed.
Immediate treatment may not be needed if the tooth itself or the teeth around don’t bother you, but if you want a professional opinion, you’ll want to call Smiles Dentistry at (416) 588-8004 today.