What Are Wisdom Teeth Warning Signs?

Man with swollen jaw after professional removal of wisdom teeth

 

There are a number of wisdom teeth warning signs to look out for so that you can take immediate action and help prevent a painful episode. 

It’s believed wisdom teeth are something of an “evolutionary relic” from a time when our distant ancestors had much larger jaws and ate far rougher foods than we do, like roots and nuts that need a lot of chewing, and most of us have four of them at the back of our mouths, in the upper and lower jaws. They get their name from the fact that they’re usually the last teeth to come in and so you’re older by that time, and presumably a bit wiser too. 

It’s possible you have evolved to the stage where you might not have wisdom teeth at all, but most people’s genetics dictate that they will have them. And because we’ve all evolved to have much smaller jaws than our early ancestors, there’s less room in there for all our teeth, and wisdom teeth often come in at awkward angles and can cause a number of problems. This can give rise to several wisdom teeth symptoms that can be painful and distressing. 

If you suspect you may be having these symptoms, you’ll need to see your dentist straight away — and there’s no point worrying about the wisdom teeth removal cost, as it’s not all that much anyway, and may even be covered under your health insurance or other schemes. The priority is to ensure that wisdom teeth symptoms do not impact on your other teeth and lead to serious dental health problems. 

Wisdom Teeth Symptoms

As your wisdom teeth are coming in and pushing through the jaw, in a process known as “erupting“, you may notice some pain in the area. It’s possible it might go away, but if there’s not enough space for the teeth to come in and settle properly, the pain can increase. This is especially the case if they start pushing on other teeth because of a sideways angle they’re coming from or just because there’s no available place for them to grow into. If this happens, misaligned wisdom teeth can also press on bone and nerves and cause additional levels of discomfort and pain. 

It’s also possible that as wisdom teeth are erupting, infection occurs where they are breaking through the surface of the gums as bacteria get into the opening. This can result in tenderness and swelling in the area, as well as pain. Wisdom teeth themselves can become impacted, as existing teeth or the jaw bone block them from coming through; this results in a situation where they remain under the gums while continuing to develop, which includes the roots growing longer. An X-ray will show if this is the case, and it may be necessary to have an impacted wisdom tooth removed

Other Wisdom Teeth Symptoms

In general, you may suspect you’re having wisdom teeth symptoms if you not only have pain at the back of your mouth — either in the upper or lower jaw — but also have a bad taste in your mouth, which could be caused by food trapped by an impacted wisdom tooth because it’s difficult to clean. This can also cause bad breath, and additionally, if you have problems with your wisdom teeth, you may experience difficulty opening your mouth due to swelling of the gums or other issues. 

It’s important to get dental attention if you’re having any of these symptoms because if left untreated, they can result in damage to other teeth and additional infections, as well as cysts forming in the wisdom tooth sac in the jawbone. Wisdom teeth are at particular risk of decay, probably because they’re often harder to reach and clean, and this can additionally lead to gum disease due to a buildup of bacteria at the site.

Even if you’re not experiencing any wisdom teeth symptoms, you can help to prevent any from occurring by having regular, six-monthly checkups at the dentist and cleaning done so your dentist can spot any problems before they arise. 

If you have wisdom teeth concerns, the friendly dentists at The James Clinic can talk to you about them and schedule an examination to see if there are any difficulties. Contact us now and find out.