There are many misconceptions about what exactly Wisdom Teeth are, and why and when they may need to be extracted or worked on. In this blog post, we will explain exactly what Wisdom Teeth are, and what in what situations they would need attention from your dentist.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third and last molars on each side of the upper and lower jaws. They are also the final teeth to erupt; they usually come in when a person is in their late teens or early twenties.
When should your Wisdom Teeth be looked at by your Dentist?
Wisdom teeth that only partially emerge or come in crooked can also lead to painful crowding and disease. As teeth removed before age 20 have less developed roots and fewer complications, the American Dental Association recommends that people between 16 and 19 have their wisdom teeth evaluated to see if they need to be removed.
What is the cause of the most common issue with Wisdom Teeth?
As wisdom teeth are the last permanent teeth to come in, or erupt, there is often not enough room left in your mouth to accommodate them. This can lead to wisdom teeth that are impacted (below the gum line and not erupted). If teeth are impacted, swelling and tenderness may occur in the area of the third molar.
What is the treatment for impacted Wisdom Teeth?
If the wisdom teeth are erupted, the tooth (or teeth) will be removed. After surgery, you may be asked to bite down softly on a piece of gauze for 30 to 45 minutes after you leave the office, to limit any bleeding that may occur.
If the wisdom teeth are impacted and embedded in the bone, the oral surgeon will put an incision into the gums and remove the tooth or teeth in sections in order to minimize the amount of bone being removed. Some pain and swelling may occur, but it will normally go away after a few days; however, you should call your dentist or oral surgeon if you have prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding or fever.
Removal of wisdom teeth due to crowding or impaction should not affect your bite or oral health in the future.
If surgery is completed, swelling and tenderness in the face and neck are common, as is bruising. Ice packs and pain medications prescribed by the dentist or oral surgeon will help, but if you have any questions or are concerned about what you are experiencing, contact your oral surgeon.
What other conditions are related to impacted Wisdom Teeth?
“Pericornitis” is a dental infection that occurs when there is not enough room in the mouth for a wisdom tooth to erupt. The wisdom tooth is partially erupted and the gum tissue covers a part of the top of the tooth. This allows food or plaque to become lodged under the gum tissue flap. If the area becomes infected, it is called Pericoronitis and the gum tissue will become swollen and red.
Symptoms include a bad smell or taste in the mouth, discharge of pus from the gum near the tooth, swollen lymph lodes under the chin, muscle spasm in the jaw and swelling on the affected side of the face. You can treat it by rinsing with warm salt water and make sure that food is removed. An antibiotic may need to be given and oral surgery may be necessary to treat this oral care issue.
If you or a friend or family member think you may have an issue with your Wisdom Teeth, please contact us for a free assessment.