At Stellar Family Orthodontics in Mukilteo and Mill Creek, Washington, Dr. Chad Carver, DMD, and his team know most patients don’t always think about their orthodontist when they’re not feeling well. After all, when you’re sick, you call your primary care doctor, right?
But if you’re suffering from ear pain, headaches, or a sore throat, a trip to the orthodontist might be just what you need to feel better. In many cases, these symptoms are directly linked to impacted wisdom teeth.
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are referred to as your third molars because they’re the last teeth to develop. While the rest of your permanent teeth come in by age 12 or 13, your wisdom teeth typically arrive between the ages of 17 and 21.
Because your wisdom teeth emerge once your mouth is already fully developed, there might not be enough room to support them. As a result, your wisdom teeth can become impacted.
Impacted wisdom teeth basics
When your wisdom teeth are impacted, they don’t have enough room to fully break through the gum line. They may shift sideways, pressing on your surrounding teeth. They can also become fully trapped beneath the gum line, raising your risk of infection.
Sometimes, wisdom teeth partially erupt, which changes your bite over time. They may even leave small gaps and crevices that leave you vulnerable to tooth decay, infection, gum disease, and even tooth damage.
How can impacted wisdom teeth make you feel sick?
Wisdom teeth develop in the very back of your mouth, near your ears and the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) in your jaw. When you have impacted wisdom teeth, they can irritate their surrounding nerves, muscles, and tissue.
That’s why impacted wisdom teeth sometime manifest in the form of flu-like symptoms, such as:
- Ear pain
- Facial sensitivity
- Sore throat
- Halitosis (bad breath)
It’s easy to mistake the symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth for another illness, like the flu or common cold. But if your symptoms persist for longer than two weeks, it may be time to find out if your wisdom teeth are the culprits.
How do I know if I have impacted wisdom teeth?
Impacted wisdom teeth don’t always cause constant symptoms. You may have earaches and sore throats that come and go. That’s a telltale sign that your condition is stemming from impacted wisdom teeth rather than an illness like the flu.
However, the only way to know for sure that you have impacted wisdom teeth is by seeing an orthodontic professional. When you schedule an appointment with Dr. Carver, he takes digital X-rays of your teeth to view your underlying tooth-supporting structures.
Once Dr. Carver is able to see just how impacted your wisdom teeth are, he can recommend the appropriate treatment. In most cases, removing your wisdom teeth entirely is the best treatment for impaction.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Carver and the team, call Stellar Family Orthodontics or request a free consultation online today!