Wisdom teeth that do not completely erupt, or break through the gum tissue, are considered impacted. Left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth can lead to infections, pain, and gum inflammation. Impactions can be especially complicated if the wisdom tooth is coming in sideways because abnormal partial eruptions can damage your other teeth. If you have a wisdom tooth impaction, your general dentistry professional may recommend the following treatment options. 

Antibiotics And Oral Rinses

Even if your impacted wisdom tooth is not causing pain or gum swelling, it can still become infected. Food particles, plaque, and bacteria can get trapped underneath the gum flap beside the impacted tooth, raising your risk for soft tissue or pulp infections. Symptoms of a wisdom tooth infection may include a bad taste in your mouth, toothache, yellowish discharge, jaw pain, and fever.

Your dentist will prescribe antibiotics if you develop an infection as a result of your impaction and they may also prescribe an antimicrobial mouthwash. In addition, rinsing your mouth with a saltwater solution will help relieve discomfort and decrease swelling. Salt also has antibacterial properties which can help prevent further infections and promote optimal healing. 

Wisdom Tooth Removal

Impacted wisdom teeth that cause repeated infections or throbbing pain typically require extraction. While a general dentistry practitioner can remove wisdom teeth, your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon if your wisdom tooth is severely impacted or coming in sideways. Before your extraction, your dentist will take x-rays of your teeth to evaluate the roots and assess the position of your wisdom tooth. Depending on your personal preference, general state of health, and your dentist's recommendation, you will either be given a local anesthetic injection where you will be fully awake and conscious during your oral surgery or you will be sedated during your procedure.

Your extraction may either be performed in your dentist's office or at an outpatient facility at a hospital. After your extraction, a protective blood clot will form over your surgical site. Your dentist will instruct you not to swish your mouth out vigorously or smoke to avoid creating a suction. Doing so can dislodge the clot, leading to a dry socket and subsequent severe pain.

If you have an impacted wisdom tooth, see your dentist as soon as possible. Timely treatment may help prevent complications such as dental overcrowding and improper tooth alignment. Once your impaction has been treated, you can look forward to better oral health. It is also important to note, that prompt dental intervention for wisdom tooth impactions can help prevent the need for orthodontic treatments in the future.