Dental Care

Wisdom Teeth Symptoms

Have some wisdom teeth symptoms to address? How many teeth do you have?

Normally, if you are over the age of 21, you probably have 36 fully developed teeth in your mouth or jaw. The first 34 will have appeared early in life with the loss of each “baby tooth”.

The last four are called the “wisdom teeth” and will usually emerge or complete their development by the time an adult reaches the age of 21.

This is not, however, always the case and many people begin to detect the development of their wisdom teeth later on.

Usually this is a time when they might feel some swelling in their gums as the teeth “erupt” or emerge through the flesh. This can be very uncomfortable and even lead to sore spots from the teeth coming into contact with the lining of the cheek or mouth.

This issue tends to abate once the tooth has emerged and taken its place, but it is always a good idea to visit a dental professional at the time the wisdom teeth begin to make their presence known.

The thing about all four of the wisdom teeth is that they shouldn't normally present the individual with symptoms at all, because they are standard teeth growing and appearing in the ways that nature tells them too – even if they are appearing only one at a time.

Wisdom Teeth Symptoms and Reasons

There are many times when these “late bloomers” wreak havoc in the mouths and jaws.

For example, some typical wisdom teeth symptoms, as these teeth are beginning to erupt may include jaw pain, headaches, and that their other teeth hurt too.

This is often the first indicator that a wisdom tooth is somehow “impacted” or stuck in a way that makes it impossible for it to emerge properly or in a healthy manner.

There are a few kinds of impaction, including:

  • Vertical – this usually means that the tooth is in the upright position, but is actually stuck in the jaw bone and cannot emerge;
  • Horizontal – this is exactly as it sounds, and the tooth might be in a “landscape” position in the jaw or gum. This can make the rest of the teeth crooked, cause serious jaw pain, and even lead to infection should any part of the tooth erupt into the soft gum tissue;
  • Mesial – when a wisdom tooth tilts towards the front of the mouth and pushes on the other teeth it is called a mesial impaction;
  • Distal – when a wisdom tooth tilts towards the rear of the mouth or the hinge of the jaw, it is known as a distal impaction;
  • Soft tissue – any wisdom tooth (in any of the positions noted above) that is partially emerged through the gum tissue, or which is stuck in the soft gum tissue is known as a soft tissue impaction, and;
  • Bony – these describe the impactions in which the tooth is actually completely stuck in the jaw of the patient.

Almost all impactions can lead to a variety of wisdom teeth symptoms as serious pressure in the jaw, swelling, discomfort, and even to a lot of “referred pain”. This is a phenomenon in which pain presents itself in another area but not in the actual source area.

For example, many patients with impacted wisdom teeth get intense earaches or headaches, and this is usually a variety of referred pain from the pressures in the jaw or the teeth.


So, what do all of these wisdom teeth symptoms tell the individual who is suffering from them? Any of the symptoms mentioned above are normally a sign that an extraction is necessary.

Generally speaking, the dental professional is not going to remove only one of the four wisdom teeth, however, and this usually means that up to four teeth might be extracted in a single visit to the oral surgeon.

Why is it necessary to pull these teeth? Can't they be straightened and retained in the jaw?

Usually, the four wisdom teeth are set so far back in the mouth that it is impossible to manipulate them easily. In fact, they are so far at the rear of the mouth that many patients with fully erupted and healthy wisdom teeth cannot clean them properly and have to deal with decay and removal at a later date too.

Visit to the Dentist

It is also important to note that a visit to the dental professional at the time the teeth are emerging is often a way to reduce the pain and suffering of wisdom teeth that will need extraction.

This is because a lot of people don't have enough room within their mouths for the teeth to properly emerge in the first place.

If they visit their dentist at the first sign or symptom of wisdom tooth trouble, they will have x-rays done that will show the positions of the teeth and make it easier to determine if they need to be removed right away.

What happens if someone just leaves the wisdom teeth partially emerged or impacted?

Usually, the pain from the pressure of the swollen tissue will just persist (which is a major cause of teeth grinding or bruxism), the adult teeth may become crowded and crooked, and the chronic irritation often leads to gum disease and advanced tooth decay.

Also, should a wisdom tooth only partially erupt through the gum it is less likely to be cleaned adequately. This can lead to decay and gum disease as well, but the infection might get to such a serious level that an abscess develops within the soft tissue too.

This can cause a much worse level of infection than the standard amount of tooth decay, and will mean that extraction is essential. Rather than waiting for a serious health crisis to develop, it is best to just go ahead and get these teeth removed at the first signs of wisdom teeth symptoms.

One thing to note is that all dental professionals recommend the detection of wisdom teeth symptoms and treatment before the age of 30.

This is because the roots of the teeth and the jawbone are not fully developed until roughly the age of 25, and after that period there are risks to the nerves and surrounding tissue during extractions.


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