The wisdom teeth are the third set of molars at the back of the mouth. For some people, they serve as a functional, problem-free part of their smile. For others, however, they can lead to serious dental health issues. This is particularly likely if they are fully or partially impacted (stuck beneath the gumline). Let’s talk about how wisdom tooth pain and other warning signs indicate that it may be time to get your wisdom teeth extracted.
Impaction can cause significant pain in the wisdom teeth, but the discomfort isn’t always limited to that area. Problems with your wisdom teeth may cause inflammation and tenderness across the entire side of your face. You might also begin to experience discomfort in your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the joint that connects your lower jaw to the rest of your skull.
The type of pain you might experience depends on the state of your wisdom teeth. If they are pressing against your other teeth, you are more likely to suffer from aching and soreness. Or, if the teeth have developed significant decay or damage, it is possible that you will notice sharp, stabbing pain and dental sensitivity.
As the wisdom teeth attempt to erupt from the gumline, they are likely to cause swelling and an increased risk of bleeding in the gums. Your jaw, glands in your neck and shoulders, and your face may also become swollen. If your upper wisdom teeth are struggling to erupt, they can even put pressure on your sinuses, leading to uncomfortable congestion that mimics a sinus infection.
Bad Breath/Bad Taste
Because partially impacted wisdom teeth are challenging to keep clean, they may accumulate food particles and bacteria, both on their chewing surface and in the gums around them. Eventually, this can lead to gum disease, a common symptom of which is bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth. Or, trapped food particles may be solely responsible for unpleasant tastes and odors.
When to Visit Your Dentist
Ideally, you should attend regular checkups with your dentist so they can monitor your wisdom teeth and catch any problems before they start to bother you. If you begin to experience any warning signs of problems with your wisdom teeth between your checkups, don’t hesitate to schedule an exam. After your dentist evaluates the teeth, they may refer you to a trustworthy oral surgeon to have them removed.
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause some serious problems! If you believe you need to have your wisdom teeth extracted, schedule a consultation with a dental professional as soon as possible.
Meet the Practice
Drs. Steve Koo, Thomas Weil, and William Shepard are the oral and maxillofacial surgeons in our practice. They have decades of combined experience and are skilled at performing wisdom teeth extractions. They carry out the procedure as carefully and comfortably as possible. If your wisdom teeth are starting to bother you, or you would like to learn more about the extraction procedure, contact our office at 713-783-5560.