While many people sail through the eruption of a third molar, or wisdom tooth, others can develop severe pain and impaction. Though dental discomfort is the most common symptom of erupting wisdom teeth, other, more severe, reactions can occur. Here are three potential consequences of an impacted wisdom tooth and what you can do about them.
1. Nerve Damage
An impacted wisdom tooth can cause inflammation or damage to one or more of your cranial nerves such as the optic nerve, facial nerve, and olfactory nerve. If one of your third molars is coming in and you notice visual problems, numbness, tingling, burning, or pinching sensations in your face, or a diminished sense of smell or taste, see your dentist right away.
Although these symptoms typically resolve once your impaction has been treated, nerve damage may linger for months or even years. If this happens, make an appointment with your physician, who may refer you to a neurologist, a doctor specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of nerve disorders.
2. Purulent Infection
Bacteria can accumulate in the socket of your impacted wisdom tooth, and because of the limited space underneath your tooth, you may be unable to brush well enough to get rid of infection-causing microorganisms effectively.
As bacteria continues to accumulate around the dental impaction, purulent, or pus-containing drainage, can develop. If the space occupying your tooth becomes infected with pus, you may be at risk for a systemic infection.
If you have an impacted tooth and notice a bad taste in your mouth, develop a fever or a sore throat, or if you feel achy, weak, tired, or dizzy, see both your dentist and family doctor. You will need to get your impaction treated with a professional cleaning and antibiotics. After your tooth infection has cleared, you will start feeling better.
3. Dental Crowding
Impacted wisdom teeth do not always come in properly. They can start to erupt through your gums sideways, and because of this, cause crowding of your other teeth. If your wisdom teeth come in sideways or only partially, see your dentist as soon as possible before your other teeth start to shift out of place
If your dentist determines that your other teeth are starting to shift, he or she may recommend that you have your wisdom tooth extracted to make more room. If you have an impacted wisdom tooth, see your dentist as soon as possible. By doing so, you will decrease your risk of developing any of the above consequences.
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