Wisdom teeth are your third molars that are the last teeth to emerge in the mouth. Most
people will see their wisdom teeth appear in their late teens, but some not until their 20s. For others still, these third molars never fully erupt through the gumline, leading to what’s called impacted wisdom teeth.
It’s possible to have one or all of your wisdom teeth be impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth may partially surface with some gum tissue still covering the teeth, or they may be completely trapped in the gums. What happens when a wisdom tooth only partially erupts, and what can you do about it?
What Causes a Partially Erupted Wisdom Tooth?
Our ancestors needed their third molars for chewing tough, uncooked foods. Today, modern foods and cooking have eliminated the need for this extra set of teeth in our mouths. Over time, our jaws have gotten smaller, and as a result, more people are experiencing impacted wisdom teeth.
When the wisdom teeth don’t have enough room to erupt through the gums, are obstructed, or are in an abnormal position, they may only emerge partway through the gums . Impactedwisdom teeth can cause pain, swelling, and infection. For some people, impacted wisdom teeth may “push” against the neighboring teeth, affecting tooth alignment.
Symptoms You May Experience With Impacted Wisdom Teeth
For some people, impacted wisdom teeth won’t cause any symptoms. However, for others, these partially erupted wisdom teeth can be difficult to clean, leading to an increased risk for infection and gum disease .
You may have impacted wisdom teeth if you:
Have jaw pain or swelling in the back of your mouth
Experience a bad taste in your mouth that won’t go away
Have jaw stiffness
See bleeding gums
Experience soreness or discomfort around these teeth
Since impacted wisdom teeth can cause an infection, it’s essential to get them evaluated by your dentist as soon as possible if you’re experiencing any symptoms!
How to Treat a Partially Erupted Wisdom Tooth
For the majority of people who have a partially erupted wisdom tooth, extraction is the only treatment that will completely resolve the issue. Getting your impacted wisdom tooth or teeth removed can also help prevent future problems they may cause, such as headaches, infection, or teeth shifting.
Your dentist may also suggest measures to get an existing infection involving your third molars under control before the extraction procedure. Wisdom tooth extraction is a simple process that causes minimal discomfort, and most patients recover in just a few days.
Are You Experiencing Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
Do you have a partially erupted wisdom tooth? You dentist can help diagnose your issue with your wisdom teeth as well as recommend a treatment plan to resolve the problem. Don’t ignore the symptoms of problematic wisdom teeth—they won’t go away on their own!