It is such a nice and natural desire for any one of us to have a beautifully aligned and absolutely healthy set of teeth. We all have high hopes for the arrival of our third molars, which are traditionally believed to bring their owner the great gift of wisdom. But unfortunately, not even the most thorough oral hygiene routine and regular dental check-ups can fully protect your precious wisdom teeth from being misaligned or impacted, since this trait often follows a poor hereditary pattern. So, all that is left for us is not to miss the first warning signs.
Unlike misaligned wisdom teeth, a problem that is usually obvious from their very awkward position, the symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth are often very tricky to reveal. It is better to turn to your dental care provider long before your first third molars erupt, and also carefully monitor the possible symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth at home, to avoid the probable damage to nerves, neighboring teeth, and even the jawbone.
What Are The Symptoms Of Impacted Wisdom Teeth Like?
Probably the trickiest thing about the symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth is that they tend to vary greatly from one person to another, not only in terms of their number and nature, but also in their severity.
What is more, about two-thirds of all patients experience no pain or even minor discomfort at the very beginning, while later being diagnosed with impaction of the wisdom teeth.
A good number of the impacted wisdom teeth symptoms are influenced by the nature of the impaction, which might be either full or partial.
This piece of information naturally generates the urgent need for constant and thorough professional dental monitoring for teenagers and young adults a few years prior to the actual arrival of their third molars, since this will help to prevent the highly painful symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth and possible further complications.
What Are the Visible Symptoms of Partially Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
The partially erupted third molars still manage to make their way through the gum line, at least up to their natural crown extent. So, first of all, you should get concerned if you notice the start of your wisdom tooth eruption, but then notice that it stays in the same position in the soft gum line tissue and does not move further. Other symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth include swelling, redness, and occasional bleeding of the gum line around the partially impacted third molar.
To make thing worse, the partially impacted third molars are extremely vulnerable to tooth decay, not only due to their very position, which considerably hinders their cleaning, but also as a result of the constant eruption associated with gum line swelling around the impacted wisdom teeth. In addition, the majority of the partially erupted third molars have tiny wounds near their socket.
And this is the perfect opening for numerous oral bacteria to enter into. This way, the pain, accompanied with obvious swelling of the socket or even gum line and stiffness of the jaw are vivid signs of infection associated with impacted wisdom teeth. Also, patients with the gum disease or tooth decay associated with impacted third molar infections, or even their poor cleaning technique, commonly face bad breath and/or taste as symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth.
Partially erupted third molars share a number of classic impacted wisdom teeth symptoms with fully unemerged ones.
What Are the Visible Symptoms of Fully Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
Even though fully impacted third molars are not prone to oral infection, their symptoms might be associated with even more intensive pain and swelling. Apart from that, the gap following the second molars gets reddish with a small bump on the site of the future third molar socket, but the actual tooth does not hurry to appear. Other symptoms of fully impacted wisdom teeth include rapidly increasing gum line tenderness, plus jaw pain and stiffness.
What Symptoms Are Equally Shared by Fully and Partially Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
Both partially and fully impacted third molars share a number of common and peculiar symptoms. First of all, these are tenderness of the supporting gum line or even, in some severe cases, occasional bleeding. Even more often, the blood comes from the actual or potential tooth socket.
Since the impacted wisdom teeth can often also feature impaction, they can take up a diagonal or even vertical position. This can easily cause damage to the neighboring teeth, or even supportive bone damage. Due to this and the intensive tooth growth beneath the gum line, the impacted symptoms of wisdom teeth commonly include difficulty in opening the mouth, and jaw pain and stiffness. What is more, the shooting or throbbing pain seems to come from the actual jawbone.
In more severe cases, the patients face headache and swelling of the lymph nodes under the jaw.
How Can I Tell That I Have Asymptomatic Impacted Third Molars?
Finally, let us touch on cases when no physical symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth reveal themselves. This does not mean that such impacted third molars cause no harm to your oral cavity.
It often happens that the patient starts to experience mild wisdom tooth eruption symptoms, which then vanish. Never neglect such impacted wisdom teeth symptoms if they are not followed by a healthy tooth arrival. Asymptomatic impacted wisdom teeth call for very careful professional dental diagnosis, including not only the examination of the physical oral cavity, but also taking multiple X-rays.
Thus, remember that the successful and timely management of impacted wisdom teeth symptoms requires not only regular, professional dental in-office check-ups, but also thorough monitoring at home.