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Signs of an Impacted Wisdom Tooth

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause severe pain and present a number of serious oral health threats.

While wisdom teeth were once essential to human survival, these days they really aren’t necessary and they can often become impacted when there is not adequate space in a person’s mouth to accommodate these “third molars.” When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it can lead to pain, infection, swelling, damage to surrounding teeth, and a host of additional uncomfortable threats to a person’s overall oral health. When a patient has an impacted wisdom tooth, he or she will need to undergo oral surgery to have that tooth removed. If you have not had your wisdom teeth removed, it’s a good idea for you to become educated about the symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth so that you can address any issues before they cause you pain or threaten your oral health.

Just like any tooth, a wisdom tooth may cause minor discomfort when it begins to erupt through the gum tissue. This is normal and the discomfort should quickly subside. However, if the wisdom tooth is impacted, the pain will likely increase and the patient may also experience the following symptoms:
•    Headaches
•    Stiff jaw
•    Sinus congestion
•    Irritated gums
•    Gum disease
•    Irritation to the cheeks or tongue
•    Tooth decay
•    Shifting or crowding of surrounding teeth
•    Infection of the small flap of gum tissue that could remain over the wisdom tooth

Most people’s wisdom teeth erupt between the ages of 17 and 25, but this age can vary widely according to the individual. If you have an erupting wisdom tooth, be sure to keep the area very clean by brushing and flossing regularly and using an antiseptic mouthwash. If you begin to experience pain or any of the above symptoms, your wisdom tooth may be impacted and it’s a good idea to pay a visit to your dentist before you experience increased pain or damage to your mouth.

American Dental Association, "Wisdom Teeth."

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