Patient in a clinic looking at the x-ray of his teeth

4 Signs Your Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed

Many people will have to get their wisdom teeth removed at some point. Wisdom teeth are commonly known for causing various issues, such as pain and swelling or misalignment of other teeth. However, how do you know when it’s time to see a professional about your wisdom teeth? Here are four signs that indicate you should make an appointment soon.

You’re Experiencing Pain in Your Mouth or Jaw

One of the most common signs that it’s time to get your wisdom teeth removed is if you’re experiencing pain in your mouth or jaw. This pain can be caused by the wisdom teeth themselves or by impaction, which is when the wisdom teeth become trapped under the gums. These are typically the last teeth to emerge during adolescence, and they may not have enough room in the jaw to grow.

When this occurs, it can cause pain and other issues like swelling or tenderness of the gums around the wisdom tooth. Impacted wisdom teeth also increase your risk of developing an infection or cavities.

An impacted wisdom tooth will not fix itself. In fact, the longer you wait to get it removed, the more complicated it may become. When wisdom teeth are growing in and causing pain, they need to be removed through surgery (extraction). Usually, this is done through oral surgery to stop infection or gum disease related to the wisdom teeth. You can avoid more serious issues like infection or jaw damage by preventing the situation from progressing.

You Have Swelling in Your Mouth or Jaw

Swelling is another common sign that it’s time to get your wisdom teeth removed. Like pain, this swelling can be caused by wisdom teeth or impaction. If you have swelling, it’s important to see an oral surgeon. They can determine whether the swelling is due to an infection, which will require antibiotics, or if it’s due to the impaction, which will require surgery. A swollen wisdom tooth can progress to something more complicated if not removed.

If you’re waiting for your scheduled appointment and the swelling persists, here’s what you can do to manage it:

  • Apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth for 20 minutes.
  • Keep ice chips on hand to help with pain and swelling.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  • Use an oral rinse, such as salt water, to reduce swelling and pain. To make salt water, mix one teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of water.

Young woman with dentist in a dental surgery.

Your Teeth Are Misaligned

Wisdom teeth can also cause misalignment of the other teeth, leading to many other problems. When wisdom teeth erupt at an undesirable angle, they can cause adjacent teeth to shift out of place and lead to bite problems.

Here’s how to determine if you have misalignment:

  • Take a look in the mirror and assess your teeth. If they look crooked or crowded, you may have a misalignment.
  • Use dental floss to check for gaps between your teeth. If there are gaps, this is another sign of misalignment.
  • You bite your cheek or tongue frequently.
  • Unaligned bite
  • Opening and closing the mouth could be difficult.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to make an appointment with a surgeon soon. They will be able to determine the extent of the misalignment and recommend a treatment plan to fix it.

You Have an Infection

Infections are one of the complications that can occur with impacted wisdom teeth. Suppose you have symptoms of an infection, such as fever, swollen lymph nodes, and pus coming from your gums. In that case, it’s important to see a professional immediately, so they can prescribe antibiotics and/or drain the abscesses that may have formed.

Here are the signs that you may have an infection:

  • Fever
  • Pain and swelling in the jaw area
  • Pus coming from your gums
  • Unpleasant taste or smell in your mouth

See a professional if you’re experiencing these symptoms as soon as possible. They will be able to diagnose the issue and provide the appropriate treatment. It can also be difficult to reach and brush wisdom teeth, especially when the area is swollen. This could lead to trapping food and bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum infections called pericoronitis. That’s too many issues for you to take.

To prevent these problems, it’s best to get your wisdom teeth checked and removed. It’s important to remember that taking care of your wisdom teeth is a preventive measure that can help protect you from developing more serious issues in the future.

If you have any previously mentioned symptoms, please see a surgeon as soon as possible. They can inform you whether your wisdom teeth need to be extracted. Even though wisdom tooth removal is common, that does not mean it should be ignored—it is always better to be safe than sorry when concerning your health!

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