Impacted Wisdom Teeth – San Antonio, TX
How Impacted Wisdom Teeth Endanger Your Oral Health
For some individuals, their wisdom teeth are a healthy, functional part of their smile; there is no need for them to ever undergo wisdom teeth extractions. For other people, however, the wisdom teeth pose a serious threat to their oral and overall health. This is often the case when the teeth are impacted. This page explains what an impacted wisdom tooth is and why such teeth may need to be removed.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth: The Basics
The term “impacted” describes teeth that do not fully erupt from the gums. Any tooth can become impacted, but this situation is common amongst wisdom teeth because most people’s mouths simply do not have enough space for the teeth to fully erupt. A wisdom tooth can be partially impacted, which means that the top of the tooth is visible, but the rest of it remains beneath the gums. Or, it may be fully impacted, meaning that no part of the tooth ever emerges from the gum line.
The Dangers of Impaction
Impacted wisdom teeth may lead to a number of serious complications, including:
- Partially impacted wisdom teeth are difficult to clean, which means they are more vulnerable to decay than other teeth.
- Pericoronitis, an infection of the gums that is often associated with impacted wisdom teeth, can spread to other bodily systems and even become life-threatening.
- Damage to adjacent teeth. Wisdom teeth may grow in at an odd angle. If they grow toward the molars that are adjacent to them, they may damage those teeth or push them out of alignment.
- Cysts and tumors. A cyst or tumor around a wisdom tooth can affect the nearby bone, nerves, and teeth.
Are Your Wisdom Teeth Impacted?
In some cases, impacted wisdom teeth don’t lead to any symptoms. That is why you should visit your dentist for regular checkups. They’ll monitor your wisdom teeth via X-rays and visual examinations, and they’ll alert you to any potential problems.
If your impacted wisdom teeth do cause symptoms, you may experience:
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Pain and swelling in the jaw
- Persistent bad breath
- An unpleasant taste in your mouth
- The inability to fully open your mouth
- Swelling in the lymph nodes in your neck
- Difficulty removing food from the area around your wisdom teeth
Do Impacted Wisdom Teeth Always Need to Be Removed?
If your impacted wisdom teeth are asymptomatic, and your oral healthcare professional determines that they do not pose an immediate threat to your oral health, you may not need to get them extracted. However, if they are causing you problems now, or you want to get them removed as a preventive measure, schedule a consultation with an oral surgeon who has experience in wisdom teeth removal. Our team at SAOMSA will evaluate your wisdom teeth and perform the extractions with precision and skill.