Warning Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Do you remember your friend in high school who showed up one day with puffy chipmunk cheeks and a bag full of applesauce cups for lunch? It’s likely that they had their wisdom teeth out. But what exactly does that mean?
What is a Wisdom Tooth?
Wisdom teeth are sometimes referred to as a ‘third molar’ and are basically a throwback to an our human ancestors and to a time when we had larger jaws and needed to grind plants with these extra molars. We have evolved over time, including having smaller jaws, but in most people, wisdom teeth still develop.
Typically between the ages of 17 and 25 years of age, a wisdom tooth might begin to erupt in one, some or all of four quadrants of the mouth. If there is sufficient room in a person’s mouth to accept the tooth without affecting or damaging other teeth, nothing need be done about them.
How do Wisdom Teeth Become Impacted?
The reality is that in many cases, the jaw is not large enough to accept this third molar, the tooth will become impacted. We refer to wisdom teeth becoming impacted when they are coming in at an odd angle and are affecting, or perhaps we should say ‘impacting’, the development, condition or positioning of other teeth.
What are Some Signs that Wisdom Teeth are Impacted?
- Jaw pain – pain in the jaw that radiates into the skull and results in ongoing headaches is a good sign that something is going on with wisdom teeth. There can also be pain while eating and swelling of the jaw as a result.
- Tender or swollen gums – particularly at the back of the mouth, tender, swollen or even bleeding gums at the back of the mouth are a sign that wisdom teeth are erupting / impacting.
Bad breath and taste in the mouth – when wisdom teeth become impacted, the folds of gum tissue in that area can trap food and bacteria, leading potentially to infection and possible tooth decay.
What Happens if I Don’t Deal with my Wisdom Teeth?
Ignoring impacted wisdom teeth can affect not only the positioning of your teeth, potentially requiring orthodontia in the future, but can damage adjacent teeth and your overall oral and physical health, due to the secondary effects of oral infection.
It’s best to have these teeth extracted for the good of the rest of your mouth and body!
Waiting to deal with an impacted wisdom tooth can just end up being painful and even dangerous. Don’t wait. If you suspect that you or someone in your family has an impacted wisdom tooth / teeth, come in and see us. We have dentist offices in both Milton and Scarborough, both with evening and weekend hours, so give us a call today at our Milton dental office at (905) 636 – 9770 or at our Scarborough dental office at (416) 291 – 0306. Give us a call to book an appointment and let’s get started!