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5 Signs You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

Have you been experiencing a nagging toothache in the back of your mouth? Many factors can cause tooth pain. It could be something as simple as a cavity or it could be something more serious such as impacted wisdom teeth – something that may have already crossed your mind.  So how do you know for sure? Are there signs telling you it’s time to have your wisdom teeth removed? Let’s dive in!

Here are the five most common signs that it’s time to have your wisdom teeth extracted:

1. Persistent Jaw Pain from Impacted Wisdom Teeth

When your wisdom teeth are impacted, it means that they are trapped in your gums or jaw. Your teeth may be hiding fully under the surface or partially erupted, poking through the gums.

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a lot of problems, from infections to tooth decay, but pain is one of the most common. Pain from impacted wisdom teeth can radiate out from the teeth and through your jaw and face. It’s often persistent but gets worse when chewing and makes it difficult to fully open your mouth.


When wisdom teeth become painfully impacted, wisdom teeth removal surgery is typically the best way forward. Removing the impacted teeth eliminates the source of the pain, offering you much-needed relief.

2. Oral Infections

Oral infections can happen anytime and in any part of the mouth, but impacted and partially erupted wisdom teeth are particularly at risk. These teeth may be growing in the wrong direction or they’re kind of out, but kind of not, and definitely a big pain in the mouth.

With partially erupted wisdom teeth, flaps of gums surround the tooth, creating spaces where bacteria can easily become trapped. Common symptoms of oral infection include fever, redness and inflammation in the gums, and pain in the jaw or face. You might also experience embarrassing bad bread and an unpleasant taste in your mouth that just won’t go away. Many infections cause soreness or stiffness in the jaw and make it difficult to eat.

Oral infections in impacted wisdom teeth are incredibly difficult to treat, and can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. In a worst case scenario, the infection can spread throughout the mouth, jaw, and beyond. Methods to stop the infection include removing some of the gums around the teeth, waiting until the tooth fully grows in, or extracting the tooth. 

A full removal of the impacted tooth is often the best long-term solution.

3. Crooked Teeth

Whether your wisdom teeth have erupted or are still hiding under the surface, they’re taking up space. Wisdom teeth, like your molars, are larger in size than most teeth, and they take up a lot of room.

A lack of space is one of the primary reasons that wisdom teeth become impacted. The jaw may be too small to allow the teeth to grow normally. Your wisdom teeth may also start growing in at an angle, pushing into your molars or your jaw bone rather than up through your gums.

As wisdom teeth grow into a crowded mouth, they put pressure on the rest of your teeth, even causing them to shift. This can contribute to an increased risk of cavities and a crooked smile. 

When crowding is dimming your smile, removing the wisdom teeth is the best way to go.

4. Bleeding Gums

Bleeding gums are a common sign of oral infection, so if you see red on your toothbrush, you’ll want to visit your dentist or oral surgeon ASAP. However, even healthy wisdom teeth can cause gums to bleed. When the teeth erupt, or break through the gums, a bit of soreness and blood is common. 

With any other tooth, an eruption isn’t necessarily cause for concern—it just means the tooth is coming in. But because of the concerns with impaction, infection, and crowding, you might want to pay more attention when your wisdom teeth appear. It’s a good time to start the conversation with your dentist or oral surgeon about whether removal is the right way to go.

5. Pain

Like with bleeding gums, pain in and around the wisdom teeth can be a sign of a big issue, such as an oral infection or impaction. But pain can also simply be a sign that your wisdom teeth are growing. For many people, that’s enough of a cause for concern to get them to the dentist.

Removing your wisdom teeth early can save you a lot of headaches (both figurative and literal) down the road. If your wisdom teeth aren’t causing any issues, they don’t always have to be removed. Proactively extracting them can help you stop those potential issues before they even start. Early extraction can also save a lot of pain in the removal procedure and the recovery, making the whole process much easier to handle.

A Worry Free Experience with the Leading Oral Surgeons in NJ

If you’re dealing with the pain and discomfort of impacted or infected wisdom teeth, the expert oral surgery team at Bergen Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is here to help. With four convenient locations in North Jersey, we have been serving NJ and NY patients for more than 70 years. Our leading team of oral surgeons includes the only dual-degree surgeons in Bergen County, bringing expertise in both dentistry and medicine to our patients.

From consultation to recovery, our doctors and support team make your comfort and well-being a top priority. Our medical team is always on call to answer questions and respond to emergencies, ensuring that you get the best possible care even after you’ve left the chair.

We are here to answer any questions you have. Contact one of our four locations for Oral Surgery in North Jersey today.

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