Belonging to a group known as the molars, your wisdom teeth are the last to emerge. These teeth, found in the back of the mouth, are predominantly used for chewing and biting functions. Also known as third molars, wisdom teeth typically emerge during a person's early 20s or late teens. Although not all wisdom teeth cause problems, many of them do in such a way that necessitates removal.

girl smiles after wisdom tooth removal

An impacted tooth is a problem-causing wisdom tooth that does one of the following:

  • Emerges out of alignment
  • Fails to erupt fully, or
  • Gets stuck below the surface of the gums

An impacted tooth that fails to emerge fully, partially erupts or erupts at a peculiar angle may be caused by insufficient space in the jaw for the tooth. The impaction may be partial or total. A wisdom tooth that fails to break through the gums at all is known as a totally impacted tooth. If your wisdom tooth is erupting abnormally, they can obstruct the normal development of other teeth. It may also cause an infection that leads to pain and other dental problems like cysts or bone damage.

The best way to determine whether your wisdom tooth is to consult a dentist to assess your condition with a proper diagnostic and evaluative oral examination. However, you may also experience warning signs and symptoms such as the following:

Red, Swollen or Bleeding Gums

When your teeth are impacted due to an infection, swelling or bleeding around the infected gum area is a common symptom. The infection will likely cause pain and redness in the gums. Left untreated, the infection may spread to the other molars and cause damage.

Pain in/around Jaw

If you are experiencing pain in the back of your jaw, it may be caused by an emerging wisdom tooth that is pressing against a neighbouring back molar. This is largely due to insufficient space in your jaw to accommodate its development.

A partially erupted tooth that creates tiny gaps with an adjacent tooth can also encourage bacterial growth inside the crevice, leading to a tooth or gum infection. The infection can trigger a sharp pain that requires immediate attention.

Difficulty Opening Mouth

As your impacted wisdom tooth jostles for space in your jaw, it not only shifts the neighbouring teeth out of alignment but also moves your jawline. That is why some patients with an impacted wisdom tooth experience excruciating pain and stiffness in their jaw area. The swelling of gums and jaws can deteriorate to the point when it may be difficult to open your mouth.

Unpleasant Taste in Mouth/Bad Breath

As mentioned, an impacted wisdom may create a breeding haven for bacteria leading to infections, cysts or decay. When that happens, it can leave you with a bad taste in your mouth and even cause bad breath (halitosis).

Please note that presence of the above symptoms does not provide conclusive evidence that you will need to remove your wisdom teeth. Once again, you are advised to attend an oral exam as the dentist is in the best position to evaluate your condition.

Are you experiencing oral pain and other symptoms that may suggest an impacted wisdom tooth? If so, please consult a professional dentist for advice. Contact Face Value Dental on 07 3221 0677 or visit our web page for more information.