Wisdom Teeth Symptoms and Signs to Remove Them

Wisdom teeth symptoms can vary from person to person. Signs that wisdom teeth are growing in should be monitored during routine cleanings and with X-rays. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) should be consulted in a patient’s late teens to determine the proper course of wisdom teeth management, including a discussion of whether extraction is necessary.

When Do Wisdom Teeth Come In?

While wisdom teeth typically grow in during ages 17 to 25, they may take years to fully erupt through the gums – if they erupt at all. Even wisdom teeth that have not erupted can pose a problem, especially if they are impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth are teeth that are unable to break through the gums and can contribute to a range of problems including:

  • Infection
  • Damage to neighboring teeth
  • Tooth decay
  • Periodontal disease 
  • Receding gums
  • Loosened teeth
  • Bone loss
  • Tooth loss

All of these are signs that wisdom teeth should be removed. Remember pain-free does not mean disease-free. Even with no evidence of oral health problems, it’s important to undergo regular dental check-ups to keep watch of potential problems.

Symptoms of Wisdom Teeth Growing In

The surest symptom of wisdom teeth growing in is the discovery of a new molar or molars in the rear of the mouth, but there are signs of their impending eruption to watch for, including pain in the back of the mouth or tenderness in the gums

Unfortunately, many common wisdom teeth symptoms are those indicative of a problem, including:

  • Tender or bleeding gums
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Jaw pain or swelling
  • Bad breath or an unpleasant taste in the mouth
  • Difficulty opening the mouth

These symptoms could arise from improperly cleaned wisdom teeth, or they could be signs of an infection from impacted wisdom teeth.

When to Have Wisdom Teeth Removed

If any of the symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth are experienced, it is essential to find an OMS and determine whether the teeth should be removed. Even if symptom-free, it can be better to remove wisdom teeth before they become a serious problem. As patients age, their wisdom teeth roots lengthen and can become entangled with the sensory nerves of the lower jaw or sinus area of the upper jaw. If wisdom teeth later become a problem, it will be a more difficult extraction with greater potential for complications. It is impossible to predict if or when complications could occur. 

The information provided here is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is provided to help you communicate effectively when you seek the advice of your oral and maxillofacial surgeon.