Most people get their wisdom teeth in their late teens and early 20s. Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that surface at the back of the mouth. Most people have four wisdom teeth, two on the top and two on the bottom.

What are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
Frequently these teeth don’t have enough space to emerge properly and take their place in the mouth. When wisdom teeth don’t have enough room to break through the gum line they are called impacted.

Impacted wisdom teeth can damage other teeth and cause long-term dental problems. Impacted wisdom teeth come in two forms:

Partially impacted – These teeth only partly break through the gum line. This partial eruption can become a problem because it provides an opening for bacteria and food particles to compromise the gums and cause infection.

Fully impacted – When wisdom teeth collide with other molars they are not able to break through the gums. Fully impacted wisdom teeth can permanently damage nearby teeth, gums, and bone and can sometimes lead to the development of cysts or tumors that can destroy portions of the jawbone.

What Are the Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
Impacted wisdom teeth can have a lasting impact on your health; contact your dentist if you develop symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth.

There are five main symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth:

Pain – Pain at the back of your jaw signals possible problems with the emerging wisdom teeth. This pain typically occurs when there is lack of space for the emerging teeth or when the teeth are emerging at an angle that puts pressure on your other molars.

Swollen gums – Impacted wisdom teeth can cause an infection that results in red gums and swelling around the teeth. Swelling around the infected area is common and will cause pain and redness in the gums.

Swelling in the lymph nodes – The lymph nodes help your body to recognize and fight germs and infections. If impacted wisdom teeth are causing an infection lymph nodes in the neck, jaw, and chin are likely to respond by swelling.

Bad taste in the mouth – If an infection caused by an impacted wisdom tooth becomes serious enough to develop pus this could lead to a bad taste in the mouth when the pus leaks from the gums.

Headaches – Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a swelling in the surrounding gum tissues that can become infected. This swelling can prevent the jaw from aligning properly when biting and chewing. This misalignment causes pain in the jaw muscles and leads to headaches.

If you experience any of these symptoms, see your dentist to determine if impacted wisdom teeth might be the cause.

Do you need your wisdom teeth removed? Jean Brown Research is currently conducting a clinical research study of an investigational pain medication given after wisdom teeth removal.

Those who are selected to participate in the study will receive study-related medication and treatment at no cost to them, including wisdom teeth removal.  See if you qualify for the Jean Brown Research wisdom teeth study.