Wisdom Teeth - Symptoms, Signs, Complications & Treatment

Wisdom Teeth

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What are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth, also called the third molar teeth are present at the back of the upper and lower jaws, one on each side. These are the last permanent (adult) teeth that erupt in the mouth and normally appear during the late teenage years or early twenties.

Sometimes, wisdom teeth may erupt partially or not erupt at all. The condition in which wisdom teeth remain entrapped within your jawbone is called impaction.

What are the Symptoms & Signs that Indicate the Presence
of an Impacted Wisdom Tooth?

An impacted wisdom tooth may not have any symptoms until it develops an infection or causes damage to adjacent teeth. Some of the signs and symptoms of wisdom tooth impaction include:
  • Redness
    and swelling in the gums surrounding the partially erupted tooth
  • Pain and swelling in the affected jaw
  • Pain while trying to open your mouth
  • A foul smelling breath
Symptoms & Signs of Wisdom Tooth Impaction

What Complications do Impacted Wisdom Teeth lead to?

The complications that may result if an impacted wisdom tooth is left untreated are troublesome and include the following:
  • Tooth decay: Partially erupted wisdom teeth often trap food substances that become difficult to clean, which leads to a higher risk of decay when compared to the other teeth.
  • Gum infection: A painful inflammation of the gums surrounding the partially erupted wisdom tooth, which is called pericoronitis, develops as a result of an inability to maintain proper dental hygiene in the area.
Complication of Impacted Wisdom Tooth - Pericoronitis
  • Formation of cysts or tumors: A fluid-filled cyst or rarely a tumor may develop from the wisdom tooth sac located in the jawbone. These cysts can cause damage to the adjacent nerves, teeth, and jawbone.

What does Treatment for Impacted Wisdom Teeth Include?

A troublesome impacted wisdom tooth is often treated through surgical removal of the tooth under local anesthesia. This procedure is done on an outpatient basis and may last for about an hour. During the procedure, your oral surgeon will first make an incision in the gum tissue overlying the impacted tooth. Then, once the bone layer is removed, the tooth is extracted following which sutures are placed to close the wound.

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