Wisdom tooth impaction is a problem that strikes adults of any age. Impaction is a technical term that’s used to describe a situation where a tooth fails to fully penetrate through the gums, usually protruding at an awkward angle. This can cause immense pain, which can be unbearable for many individuals. In some instances, an impacted tooth may even clash with the one beside it, causing decay and deterioration.
The solution to an impacted tooth is to have it removed through dental surgery. Regular tooth extraction simply won’t work. The gums surrounding the impacted tooth need to be sliced open before your dentist can extract the tooth by the root. Sometimes, getting the tooth out may even involve carefully fragmenting it.
The top five symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth are as follows:
- Bad Breath. As the impacted tooth may have allowed infection to permeate into your gums, pus may slowly accumulate in the affected area, causing bad breath. Gargling with an oral antiseptic solution can help prevent further infection and will temporarily deal with the smell.
- Gingivitis or Gum Tenderness. Once infection sets in, it can turn your gums tender. Food pieces stuck in between gum flaps can worsen infection and cause serious problems while the swelling persists.
- Jaw Stiffness and Pain. Although not usually associated with wisdom tooth impaction, jaw pain—commonly caused by a temporal-mandibular joint problem—can be worsened by an impacted wisdom tooth, especially when the gums have swollen to a greater extent.
- Lymph Node Swelling. Swollen lymph nodes signify an infection in your body, and in this case, the gums surrounding the wisdom tooth. Antibiotics can help counter the effects of bacteria that cause infection and may help to reduce the swelling.
- Odd Taste When Biting Down. Fluids can ooze out of your infected gums, thereby causing an unpleasant taste every time you bite down. This may affect the taste of the food you eat, and perhaps even your appetite. Fortunately, once the infection halts, pus will stop oozing out as well.
The best solution to an impacted wisdom tooth, of course, is to have it surgically removed. But you can try to numb the pain with painkillers and clean the infected area by gargling a saline solution, aside from the usual antiseptic wash. Lastly, be sure to get in touch with your dentist and seek professional advice. Doing so will help you halt the long term effects of an impacted tooth.