How will I know if my wisdom teeth have become impacted?

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As part of a dental visit, your dentist will examine you to determine if your wisdom teeth are healthy and properly positioned.

Every patient is unique, but in general, wisdom teeth may be impacted and need to be removed when there is evidence of changes in the mouth such as:
  • pain
  • infection
  • cysts
  • tumors
  • damage to adjacent teeth
  • gum disease
  • tooth decay (if it is not possible or desirable to restore the tooth)
Your dentist or specialist may also recommend removal to prevent problems or for others reasons, such as when removal is part of an orthodontic, restorative or periodontal treatment plan.
Impacted teeth are merely ones that have become trapped or wedged in such a way that they will not come into your mouth without help. Many people do not have enough room in their jaws or mouth for their wisdom teeth to erupt. 

You may or may not have symptoms if your wisdom teeth are impacted, so the best way to tell is to have your dentist take an x-ray. He or she should be able to show you where your widsom teeth are on the x-ray.
The most reliable way is to see your dentist and have him or her take an x-ray of your jaw called a panoramic x-ray. Your dentist can tell you if your wisdom teeth are impacted or not.
Whenever you go in for your regular checkup with your dentist. At that time he/she may me able to see them in your mouth, and definitely on the x-rays. Your dentist should be able to tell you if they're impacted. Ask him/her to explain and show you what your impacted tooth/teeth look like. 
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If your wisdom teeth have become impacted, you may experience bad breath, swelling, pain, and a bad taste in your mouth. Another symptom is pain when you open your mouth and when chewing and biting.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.