What are Wisdom Teeth? Why are some Impacted?

In your late teens, you may have noticed the appearance of third molars, commonly known as ‘wisdom teeth’.  These teeth are the last to erupt. While the majority of us have 4 wisdom teeth, others have  3, 2, 1 or even none! Often, wisdom teeth are impacted. This means the tooth pushes through the gum as it erupts. This can be due to the lack of room in the mouth, due to the tooth growing in sideways, or if the tooth is tilted in the jaw.


Do they hurt?

Not always. An impacted tooth may not cause any pain, making it easy for you to miss it! Even though some impacted wisdom teeth are not painful, they may start to push nearby teeth, leading to a misaligned bite.

Impacted teeth may cause pain when the gum becomes infected and swollen, which can also have an effect on neighbouring teeth. Untreated infections can spread, so it is best to seek immediate advice from your dentist. While regular dental visits are recommended in monitoring the growth of your wisdom teeth, it’s still a good idea to be aware of the signs and symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth.


What are some signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

Red or Swollen Gums 

You may notice an increase in the sensitivity of your gums, notably in the areas of your wisdom teeth. Your gums may also start to bleed when brushing or flossing. Please be aware that these are also traits of gum disease – to be sure, it’s best to consult your dentist.

Difficulty Opening Your Jaw

It’s not just gums that get swollen! A swollen jaw can make it painful and difficult to open and close your mouth. This pain may not be very strong at first, but in time, will likely become more intense. This pain may also come and go in phases – you may find yourself feeling some discomfort for a few days, to only have that pain disappear. Unfortunately, it is likely that this pain will return. Don’t ignore this sign, even if the pain disappears for a while! Make sure you share your concerns with your dentist.

Bad Breath

As wisdom teeth erupt through the gums they become difficult to clean. It is easy for bacteria and debris to get trapped in the crevices of the gums, resulting in an unpleasant odour and a bad taste in the mouth. Biting and chewing may also become more painful, especially if left untreated.

Other signs include headaches, along with swollen glands in the neck and shoulders. Every person is different – some exhibit more signs than others. While there is no way to prevent an impacted tooth, you can make sure to continue brushing and flossing to prevent cavities.

Any questions? Give us a call today! Our experienced team at Waterview Dental are happy to help you learn more about your wisdom teeth, along with available treatment options for the future.

Click here to learn more about the wisdom teeth extraction and oral surgery-related services we offer from our sister clinic, Parkview Dental.Oral Cancer Screening