Most people need to have their wisdom teeth removed at some point in their lives. Even if you do not experience any pain or discomfort when they first surface, they can still cause problems later in life.
Early intervention is the most effective way to avoid the painful symptoms of an eruption or infection. You also greatly reduce the risk of complications during the extraction procedure – as the roots of the wisdom teeth don’t have time to fully mature.
But how do you when the time has come to have your wisdom teeth removed? In this article you will learn about the common symptoms of problem wisdom teeth, what can happen if they go untreated, and what to expect from your dentist or oral surgeon.
Formation of Wisdom Teeth
Most people start to form wisdom teeth (third molars) between the ages of 17 and 21. The teeth often appear as a group of 4 at each corner of the mouth – two on the top, two on the bottom.
Pain occurs when there is not enough room in the jaw for the teeth to emerge and develop properly. Because of this, it is common for wisdom teeth to grow at an angle or partially through the gum, which causes overcrowding. When this happens you may experience general pain, damage to other teeth, and other dental issues.
Are you in the clear if you do not experience any initial pain or problems? Not quite.
Wisdom teeth are hard to clean because of where they grow and this can leave the mouth susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease. If left untreated the mouth can develop an infection.
Symptoms of Infection
When a wisdom tooth becomes infected you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
Red or swollen gums
General pain and discomfort
Difficulty opening the mouth
Development of cysts – resulting in pus from the gum
If you experience any of these symptoms, get relief at your local dentist or oral surgeon.
They will perform an x-ray to examine the current state of your wisdom teeth. They may also professionally clean your teeth, offer helpful advice on oral hygiene, and recommend pain medication for relief.
Of course, there is no guarantee the pain from wisdom teeth will not return, which is why removal is the best course of action.
Removal of Wisdom Teeth
Many people put off having their wisdom teeth removed because they are afraid the procedure will hurt. The reality is, however, far less daunting than what your imagination will have you believe.
Depending on your budget you may wish to have all four of your wisdom teeth removed at once. Typically, the time for recovery is the same as if you were to have a single tooth taken out.
During the extraction procedure, you may be given a local anaesthetic, which will temporarily numb the area. So you won’t feel a thing during the procedure. If you do feel any pain or discomfort, let your dentist or oral surgeon know. And if the root of the wisdom teeth is particularly deep, or there is a blockage in the way, you may be offered a general anaesthetic.
Because wisdom teeth are quite large, the hole where the tooth was extracted may be stitched to help it heal.
It is perfectly normal to experience some pain, discomfort, and bleeding for a few days to a week after the procedure.
Your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend you take antibiotics to ease the pain. They will also give you general tips on how to care for your mouth as the area heals. Some of the most common tips are to:
Avoid smoking for 48 hours
Hold warm salty water in your mouth after each meal. Do not do this within 24 hours of your surgery
Eat soft, chewy foods for the next few days
Avoid alcohol for at least a week or longer until the pain eases
For more information and advice in regards to wisdom teeth, speak to your local dentist today. They can advise you on the current state of your wisdom teeth, and recommend a suitable treatment plan to suit your needs.