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Are My Wisdom Teeth Impacted?

Are My Wisdom Teeth Impacted?

If you are between the ages of 16 and 30, “Are My Wisdom Teeth Coming In?” is a question that may have crossed your mind once or twice.  Just as babies have pain when their teeth begin to cut through the gums, as wisdom teeth develop, they often cause pain and discomfort in adults.

Here are some related factors to wisdom teeth eruption:

Are you between the ages of 16 and 30?

The tooth bud of a wisdom tooth is present in your jawbone from birth, so if you have any dental x-rays from childhood, you might be able to see the presence of your wisdom teeth on them.  The tooth buds don’t begin to develop into your wisdom teeth until adolescence and most people’s wisdom teeth don’t begin causing any symptoms until the ages of 16-17.

Did your parents have wisdom teeth?

The presence, shape, eruption pattern and location of your wisdom teeth are genetically predetermined, so ask your parents how many wisdom teeth they had and what their experience with wisdom teeth was like.  Your situation might be similar.

Possible symptoms you might experience if your wisdom teeth are coming in:

  • Pressure in the jawbone
  • Crowding of anterior teeth
  • Pain in the jawbone
  • Tension headaches
  • Swelling in the gum behind your last tooth
  • A hard white bump in the gum behind the last tooth
  • Difficulty Opening Mouth / Stiffness in the Jaw Joint

Pressure in the jawbone

When a wisdom tooth begins to erupt, bone around the tooth begins to change and breakdown in order to push the tooth into the mouth.  Pressure in the jawbone can be normal for an erupting wisdom tooth.

Crowding of anterior teeth

As a wisdom tooth erupts, it puts pressure on the tooth in front of it producing a domino effect on all teeth.  It is common to experience crowding in your top or bottom front teeth as a wisdom tooth begins to come in.

Pain in the gums, teeth and/or jawbone

Anyone who has had braces will tell you that when teeth shift and move, your gums, teeth and jaw can be very sore.  When wisdom teeth erupt, they can cause all teeth to move.   Also, the changes in the bone to accommodate the wisdom teeth can produce pain.  When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it can continually try to erupt against an obstructing structure causing pain and pressure.  Also, an impacted wisdom tooth can become infected or abscessed which can lead to a significant amount of pain.

Tension headaches

The stress that an impacted or erupting wisdom tooth can potentially put on the jawbone can stress the surrounding muscles leading to tension headaches.  Also, some people may clench or grind their teeth while their wisdom teeth are erupting leading to tension on muscles as well.

Swelling in the gum behind your last tooth

When a wisdom tooth breaks through the bone, it can feel like there is a hard lump or swelling under the gum tissue until the wisdom tooth erupts through the gum tissue as well.

A hard white bump in the gum behind the last tooth

If you see a white bump poking through the gums behind your last molar, it may be part of your wisdom tooth poking through the gums and bone.

Difficulty Opening Mouth / Stiffness in the Jaw Joint

Erupting or impacted wisdom teeth can cause swelling in the surrounding structures, including the jaw joint which may make it difficult to open and close.

These and other symptoms can be caused by erupting or impacted wisdom teeth.  There are other conditions that can cause similar symptoms to an impacted or erupting wisdom tooth as well; consulting with a dentist is the best option if you have any symptoms in your jaw, head or mouth.

To determine if you are getting your wisdom teeth, your dentist will almost always take x-rays.  The best x-ray for seeing wisdom teeth is a panoramic x-ray.  If a wisdom tooth has not come in yet or it is in the process of erupting, the only way to see what stage of eruption it is in is to take an x-ray.  Your dentist will also do an intra-oral exam.  Depending upon what the dentist finds, he/she will make appropriate recommendations regarding your wisdom teeth.

Wisdom teeth that are impacted or partially impacted can pose serious health issues.  It is best to catch potential wisdom tooth issues early on.  Your dentist can inform you about different treatment alternatives and make recommendations according to your individual needs.

Dr. Marie Durflinger, a general & cosmetic dentist in Auburn Washington has over 25 years of experience.  If you are having any dental problems you think may be related to wisdom teeth, call today 253-833-2200 for an examination today.

 This entry was posted on Friday, October 12th, 2012 at 6:31 pm and is filed under Wisdom Teeth. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site. 
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