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Oral Surgury Series: Impacted Teeth

Also known as third molars, wisdom teeth are the last ones to develop. In some instances, wisdom teeth break through the gum line and the jaw is large enough to house them without problems. In most cases, though, the wisdom teeth emerge and become trapped within the jaw and impacted between the gum tissue and jawbone.

Symptoms of Impacted Teeth

Wisdom teeth that are impacted cause pain, swelling and infection of the surrounding gum tissue. Additionally, they can result in permanent damage to other teeth in the area, gums and bone. In severe cases, impacted wisdom teeth can lead to the formation of cysts or tumors that can destroy different parts of the jaw. Look for these signs when checking whether you have impacted wisdom teeth:

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Tender or bleeding gums
  • Pain in the jaw
  • Swelling around the jaw
  • Bad breath
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth
  • Difficulty opening the mouth

Treatment of Impacted Teeth

Dentists advise patients with impacted wisdom teeth to remove them immediately through surgery.  In some cases, your dentist will remove other teeth like cuspids and bicuspids because they can become impacted and cause the same issues.  Prior to surgery, you won’t be able to eat for six hours. Your dentist will use an anesthetic or sedative, and the surgery typically lasts anywhere from an hour or two. While you’ll feel discomfort for the following week, this gradually disappears.