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It is estimated that in excess of 80% of people will need to have their wisdom teeth removed.

What this means is that there are still people who keep their wisdom teeth and have no problems with them. If your wisdom teeth don’t create any problems for you before the age of 30, chances are they won’t cause any problems. However, this isn’t true for everyone. Sometimes wisdom teeth can still be problematic even if they were found to be healthy at one point. What constitutes a wisdom tooth emergency and when should you seek help?

If your wisdom teeth haven’t fully erupted, this means they’re stuck halfway between your gums and your jaw. This is a dangerous position to be in, as this area is difficult to keep clean. Debris from food and plaque can accumulate and cause an infection. This condition is called perisoronitis.

Some of the symptoms of perisoronitis may include swelling around the area, problems moving your jaw, even a fever and bleeding from your mouth can be indicative of a problem. If you have a bad taste in your mouth, this could mean an infection is present. Fortunately, your dentist can remove the debris, properly clean the area, and talk with you about what your options are moving forward. You should never ignore perisoronitis or any infection as it could get worse and affect your entire body via the bloodstream.

Impacted wisdom teeth occur when there’s essentially no room for these third molars to come in. They rest below your gumline and usually aren’t visible. These impacted molars can cause pain and overcrowding in your mouth. If impacted wisdom teeth are left to push your other teeth together and crowd them, this can make it much more difficult to clean your teeth and could lead to tooth decay or an infection. Impacted wisdom teeth don’t always have symptoms. This is why getting regular checkups with your dentist is so important. If you haven’t had your wisdom teeth out but are seeing your teeth shift or have jaw pain or swelling, see your dentist. Impacted wisdom teeth can also lead to perisoronitis!

If you’re one of the many people that’s had their wisdom teeth extracted, caring for your mouth after the surgery is essential. Most people heal from these surgeries as expected, but a small percentage of people will experience what’s called “dry socket”, where the blood clots that protects your surgical sites are no longer there.

If you experience worsening pain after your wisdom tooth extraction, call your dentist immediately. Reactions or infections after removal are rare but still seek help if something doesn’t feel right or you have any questions. Never put treatment off!

Wisdom teeth can cause problems so be aware of the symptoms. If you suspect you have an infection, are having symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth, or are experiencing pain after your extraction surgery, it’s imperative that you contact your dentist. He or she can evaluate your wisdom teeth and treat your smile!