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Impacted Wisdom Teeth – Houston, TX

The Dangers of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Some individuals are able to keep their wisdom teeth for a lifetime and not experience any problems. However, wisdom teeth extractions in Houston are often necessary when these third molars become impacted. On this page, we explain exactly what it means for a wisdom tooth to be impacted and how this situation may pose a threat to your oral and overall health.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth: The Basics

impacted wisdom tooth illustration

The term “impacted” describes a tooth that does not fully erupt from the gums. Wisdom teeth may be fully impacted, which means that the crown never breaks through the gum surface. They may also be partially impacted, which means that the crown may appear but the tooth does not completely erupt. Impaction occurs because the mouth is too small to accommodate the wisdom teeth.

The Dangers of Impaction

impacted teeth X-ray

Impacted wisdom teeth have the potential to cause a number of serious dental complications:

  • Partially erupted wisdom teeth are difficult to clean, which means they are at a greater risk of decay and infection than other teeth. One type of gum infection, pericoronitis, can even be life-threatening in some situations.
  • Whether the teeth are fully or partially impacted, they may develop at an improper angle. If they grow in the direction of the second molar, they can cause damage to the other teeth or push them out of alignment.
  • A cyst or benign tumor may develop around the tooth, causing damage to the nerves, jawbone, and other teeth.

Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

woman with toothache

Sometimes, impacted wisdom teeth cause no symptoms at all. That is why you should visit your dentist for periodic checkups. X-rays, along with a visual examination, can determine how the teeth are placed and if they may cause problems for you in the future.

In other cases, you may notice some changes in your mouth and the surrounding area that indicate a possible issue with your wisdom teeth:

  • Your gums are red, swollen, bleeding, or tender
  • There is pain or swelling in your jaw
  • You’re struggling with persistent bad breath
  • There is an unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • It is difficult to fully open your mouth
  • The lymph nodes in your neck experience occasional swelling
  • Food often gets trapped in the area around your wisdom teeth

If you notice any of the above symptoms, you should consult with an oral surgeon in Houston who has experience in removing wisdom teeth. After they examine your mouth, they can plan your procedure and help get you back on the road to oral health.

Do Impacted Wisdom Teeth Always Need to Be Removed?

extracted tooth

In many cases, having oral surgery in Houston to remove impacted wisdom teeth is the wisest course of action, even if the teeth aren’t causing any symptoms. However, if the teeth present a low risk to your oral health, you may be able to retain them. Talking to your dentist or oral surgeon about all the pros and cons of getting the teeth removed can help you make an informed and confident decision about the future of these third molars.