What Makes a Wisdom Tooth “Impacted?”

Since your wisdom teeth will erupt when you are in your early 20s, they will likely grow at the wrong angle or get stuck underneath the gum due to a lack of enough space in your jaw. These last molars are often forced to squeeze themselves out through the small spaces left at the back of your mouth.

So, the chances are that they will not erupt fully, and if they do, they will grow at the wrong angle. This is what dentists refer to as an impacted wisdom tooth. In fact, this is one of the most common oral complications in adults. In this article, you will learn what makes a wisdom tooth impacted.

What Causes Wisdom Teeth Impaction?

As mentioned above, wisdom teeth normally grow in at a time when your jaws are crammed with teeth. Therefore, your wisdom teeth are forced to push themselves through the small spaces left. In most cases, your wisdom teeth will either partially break through the gum or bump into the neighboring teeth. Although wisdom teeth don’t get impacted all the time, they can cause serious oral problems when they do.

For instance, an impacted wisdom tooth will sometimes trap food, plaque, or other debris, causing inflammation, gum tenderness, cavity, and bad breath. If your wisdom tooth fails to erupt fully through the gum, it will leave your gum open, giving bacteria a haven to breed. This will result in bacterial infections that will affect the surrounding gum and teeth. Sometimes, your wisdom teeth can be impacted without presenting any problem until later in life. But even if your impacted wisdom teeth don’t cause any problems, they are hard to brush and floss, and therefore they are likely to cause tooth decay and gum diseases.

How Do You Know Your Wisdom Teeth Are Impacted?

As mentioned above, not all impacted wisdom teeth cause problems. But suppose they are infected or damage neighboring teeth. In that case, you may experience some symptoms, such as red or swollen gum, gum tenderness, bleeding gums, jaw pain, bad breath, unpleasant taste in your mouth, and difficulty opening your mouth.

An impacted wisdom tooth can also cause serious oral problems like damage to a neighboring tooth, especially when it pushes against it. It can also damage the nerves of the adjacent tooth if it grows at a wrong angle. An impacted wisdom tooth can lead to crowding of neighboring teeth or cause cysts in your gum. These cysts will eventually become filled with fluid and can easily damage your jawbone, teeth, and nerves.

For more information on impacted wisdom teeth, talk to Dr. Kademani today.