Wisdom teeth, third molars, are often extracted due to the many adverse effects they can have on a patient’s overall oral health. Impaction is one of the most common reasons patients need to have their wisdom teeth extracted. A tooth is said to be impacted if it is unable to fully erupt from the smile, it partially erupts at the wrong angle, or it partially erupts and is recovered by soft tissue one or more times. When wisdom tooth impaction occurs, there are numerous adverse effects it can have on your oral and overall health. Your surrounding teeth may be shifted out of alignment, you may be at greater risk for decay in these impacted teeth, and your entire bite may no longer work properly, leading to strained TMJ and other concerns. If you have impacted wisdom teeth, an oral surgeon may recommend extraction to ensure you maintain a healthy, properly functioning smile.
1 – Pain or Sensitivity
The most common warning sign of impacted wisdom teeth is pain. You may also experience sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages. Wisdom teeth erupt in the back of the mouth, so patients can experience sharp pain or discomfort when chewing or yawning. Others experience a more constant, dull ache.
2 – Shifting Surrounding Teeth
Impacted wisdom teeth may be trapped below the gum line because they developed diagonally or even horizontally. The flawed development of these teeth can cause surrounding teeth to move out of alignment or feel loose.
3 – Bite that Doesn’t Fit Together Properly
When teeth shift significantly, patients can feel like it’s difficult to chew or their teeth aren’t fitting together the same way. At first, this may not significantly affect patients, but over time, an improper bite alignment can lead to excess pressure placed on specific teeth causing chips and cracks. For those patients who have already completed orthodontic treatment, one or more impacted wisdom teeth can undo this costly treatment.
4 – Jaw Pain or Immobility
Another side effect of improper bite alignment and uneven pressure during chewing and mouth movement is strain to the TMJ. These joints connect the jaw to the skull bone, and when they are overtaxed by an uneven bite or patients favoring certain teeth as they chew, the result can be painful or impeded jaw movement. This can make sharing the simplest smile extremely uncomfortable.
5 – Swelling or Inflammation
In some cases, the impacted tooth may decay below the gum line, which can lead to infection in the soft tissue. Signs of infection around an impacted wisdom tooth include swelling, inflammation, or pimple like sores in the soft tissue over the tooth. In severe cases, you may notice other warning signs of infection like fever, nausea, or chills.
Meet Dr. Lee
Trusted Cambridge oral surgeon, Jeff Lee, MS, MD, DMD, has years of experience providing safe, comfortable tooth extraction. As a specialist in oral and maxillofacial surgery, Dr. Lee has the necessary training to perform even the most complex, surgical tooth removal procedures and ensure patients make a quick recovery. If you have questions about your wisdom teeth or would like to schedule a wisdom tooth consultation with Dr. Lee, please contact Muskingum Valley Oral Surgery to find out more from our Cambridge oral and maxillofacial surgery team today.