What Signs Reveal an Impacted Wisdom Tooth?

By: Dr. Husam Elias


Wisdom teeth are the last of your permanent teeth to appear. They're your third molars, and for most people, they can erupt between the ages of 17 and 25. In others, wisdom teeth never break the surface. While wisdom teeth may cause no problems in some people, others may need or choose to have them removed.

At The Pacific Coast Center for Oral, Facial & Cosmetic Surgery in Pasadena, CA, Dr. Husam Elias treats patients with impacted wisdom teeth, ensuring the rest of their smile remains uncompromised.

Keep reading to learn about the warning signs of an impacted wisdom tooth.

What is an impacted wisdom tooth?

Wisdom teeth start to erupt in our early adult years. However, in many cases, these teeth don't have enough room to grow in normally and instead develop at an angle. When this happens, they can push against your second molars instead of erupting straight down. This is called an impacted wisdom tooth.

Impacted wisdom teeth typically need to be removed since they can cause teeth to shift or lead to pain in the mouth. They are also challenging to clean and are more prone to tooth decay. Some patients choose to have wisdom teeth removed regardless of whether or not they are impacted to improve oral health and prevent later complications.

What are the signs of an impacted wisdom tooth?

There are many symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth, but they typically don't arise unless the tooth is trying to erupt.

Warning signs of an impacted wisdom tooth can include:

  • Red, tender, or bleeding gums

  • Swollen gums or jaw

  • Jaw pain (especially while chewing or yawning)

  • Bad breath

  • Difficulty opening your mouth

  • An unpleasant taste in the mouth

In some cases, pain may be severe and throbbing. That's when many people seek an extraction of impacted wisdom teeth.

Wisdom teeth can sit in place, even at an angle, for many years without causing pain or other symptoms. However, that does not mean they are healthy. They can still become decayed even if you don't notice any other problems. That's why many dentists recommend getting wisdom teeth extraction in early adulthood.

How are impacted wisdom teeth treated?

Dr. Elias may recommend extraction if your wisdom teeth are impacted, even if they have not begun to overcrowd your mouth or cause pain. Removing all four wisdom teeth has no impact on one's future ability to chew as they are unnecessary teeth.

However, in some cases, a conservative approach is warranted. When the risks outweigh the potential benefits of extracting healthy wisdom teeth, Dr. Elias may recommend leaving them as they are. In this case, you will get more information about keeping your wisdom teeth clean and healthy and avoiding problems down the line.

Wisdom tooth extraction is an outpatient procedure that typically requires a local anesthetic. In some cases, a general anesthetic may be administered, but you will be informed about the potential risks.

Treat an impacted wisdom tooth in Pasadena, CA

At The Pacific Coast Center for Oral, Facial & Cosmetic Surgery, Dr. Husam Elias can assess your wisdom teeth and make a recommendation about if they need to be extracted.

If you're interested in finding out more or are already suffering from pain due to impacted wisdom teeth, schedule a consultation with Dr. Elias.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.