Impacted wisdom teeth and complications
Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to pain, damage other teeth as well as a variety of dental problems. Wisdom tooth removal would be required to prevent future complications.
Overview of wisdom teeth
Not always wisdom teeth have obvious symptoms. However, when they become infected and damage other teeth or cause other dental problems, you will experience some of the following signs/symptoms:
- Red or swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Jaw pain
- Swelling around the jaw
- Bad breath
- Difficulty opening your mouth
When you notice any of these signs, do not hesitate to see your doctor immediately for timely treatment.
What causes wisdom teeth to grow?
The reason wisdom teeth (third molars) grow in a wrong angle is because they do not have enough room to grow or develop normally in the mouth. An impacted wisdom tooth may partially emerge so that some of the crowns are visible, or it may never break through the gums.
Whether partially or fully impacted, the tooth may:
- Grow at an angle toward the next tooth (second molar).
- Grow at an angle toward the back of the mouth.
- Grow at a right angle to the other teeth, as if the wisdom tooth is "lying down" within the jawbone.
- Grow straight up or down like other teeth but stay trapped within the jawbone.
Complications of impacted wisdom teeth
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause several problems in the mouth:
- Damage to other teeth: If the wisdom tooth pushes against the second molar, it may damage the second molar or increase the risk of infection in that area.
- Cysts: The wisdom tooth develops in a sac within the jawbone. The sac can fill with fluid, forming a cyst that can damage the jawbone, teeth, and nerves.
- Decay: A normal tooth can get tooth decay at any time, let alone impacted wisdom teeth which appear to be at higher risk of tooth decay. This probably occurs because wisdom teeth are at the back of the mouth and hard to clean thoroughly. Also, food and bacteria get easily trapped between the gum and a partially erupted tooth.
- Gum disease. The difficulty of cleaning impacted wisdom teeth increases the risk of developing gingivitis.
You can't keep an impaction from occurring, but keeping regular six-month dental appointments for cleaning and checkups helps your dentist to monitor the growth and emergence of your wisdom teeth. Thence, the dentist will step in before things get more complicated. In most cases, when the teeth cause unbearable pain and infection, you will need to go through wisdom tooth extraction.