Impacted Wisdom Teeth—Do They Need to Come Out?
Located at the ends of the upper and lower gums, the wisdom teeth (third molars) are the last teeth to grow and erupt into the mouth. Most people have four, which typically appear during late adolescence or early adulthood.
Sometimes, the third molars don’t have enough room to grow and develop properly within the tight quarters of the mouth. Wisdom teeth that do not fully break through the gum tissue are known as impacted wisdom teeth.
What Are the Symptoms?
Impacted wisdom teeth don’t always cause problems. However, in some instances, they can push against or damage nearby teeth, causing symptoms such as:
- Overcrowded and crooked teeth
- Red, tender, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Pain and swelling in the jaw
- Bad breath
- An unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Difficulty opening the mouth
Additionally, when a wisdom tooth is trapped between the gum tissue and jawbone, bacteria can collect and lead to decay and infection. Potentially serious infections include cellulitis in the cheek, tongue, or throat, and gingivitis (gum disease) that results when plaque releases toxins that irritate the gums.
Even wisdom teeth that come in correctly can still develop problems over time. Because the third molars are positioned so far back in the mouth, they can be difficult to clean. Therefore, it is especially important to brush and floss wisdom teeth well, and to see a dentist regularly for checkups.
Should an Impacted Wisdom Tooth Be Removed?
To help relieve painful symptoms, a dentist may clean around an impacted wisdom tooth and prescribe antibiotic treatment. However, if the discomfort persists or worsens, the tooth may need to be removed. Many dentists and oral surgeons believe that impacted wisdom teeth should be taken out as a preventive measure—even if they are not causing any apparent problems—in order to reduce the risk of tooth decay, infection, and gum disease. Many dental professionals also believe it’s better to remove impacted wisdom teeth at a younger age, since recovery generally doesn’t take as long when the tooth roots and bone are not yet fully formed.
If you are experiencing pain or other symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth, you are welcome to visit Florida Dental Centers in Clearwater, FL, where you can consult with an experienced oral surgeon. We offer comprehensive dental services, including oral surgery to remove impacted wisdom teeth. Contact us today.