If wisdom teeth become impacted or only partially break through the gum, they can cause dental problems. Bacteria and food can become trapped around the edges of wisdom teeth, resulting in plaque build-up. This can lead to:
- Tooth Decay (dental caries): Tooth decay is often a consequence of ingesting too many sugary foods and drinks and not brushing your teeth and tongue. See your dentist without delay if you believe you or your child has tooth decay. Early treatment can prevent it from getting more severe.
- Gum Disease (also called gingivitis or periodontal disease): Gum disease is a common condition in which the gums become red, swollen, sore, and may bleed. It is important to see a dentist if you think you may have gum disease.
- Pericoronitis: Pericoronitis can form when wisdom teeth only partially erupt (break through the gum). When wisdom teeth partially erupt, there will be gum tissue that surrounds the tooth which is called an operculum. Food particles and bacteria can get trapped under the operculum and can result in an infection.
- Abscess: Abscesses are formed as the result of a bacterial infection. Abscesses can form anywhere in the human anatomy.
- Cysts and benign growths: A wisdom tooth that has not broken through the gum rarely develops a cyst (a swollen fluid-filled location). A cyst is a sac that may contain air, fluid, or other material. A cyst can form in any part of the body, including bones, organs and soft tissues. Most cysts are benign (noncancerous), but tumors may also cause cysts.
Most of these problems can be successfully treated using antibiotics and antiseptic mouthwash. Wisdom teeth extraction typically occurs if other methods are unsuccessful.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Most people have a third set of molars, known as wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth usually start to grow in during the late teens or early twenties. They generally appear in the back of the mouth and can crowd or damage other teeth. Historic Preservationists contend that early humans considered wisdom teeth essential for chewing raw meaty foods that formed the majority of our prehistoric diet. The invention of fire eventually allowed us to cook and soften these foods, making wisdom teeth no longer necessary. As our diets and chewing habits changed, we gradually stopped relying on wisdom teeth. However, even though we don’t need them anymore, we continue to pass on the genes for wisdom teeth to future generations. Similarly, we still carry genes for developing an appendix or tailbone, even though they are now vestigial organs.
How wisdom teeth are removed
Before having wisdom teeth removed, your dentist will usually explain the procedure and have you sign a consent form. In some cases, your dentist may refer you to a specialist surgeon for hospital treatment. The removal of a tooth usually requires the administration of a local anaesthetic injection to numb the surrounding area. Some pressure may be felt just before the tooth is removed, as your dentist or oral surgeon will need to widen the tooth socket by rocking the tooth back and forth. A small cut in the gum may be necessary to remove a wisdom tooth. The tooth may need to be cut into smaller pieces before it can be removed. The procedure usually takes a few minutes to 20 minutes, but it can occasionally take longer. After your wisdom teeth have been removed, you may experience some swelling and discomfort. This is usually worse for the first 3 days, but can last up to 2 weeks. Occasionally, you may also see some mild bruising. Dental wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure. It is performed by an oral surgeon under local anesthesia, sedation, or general anesthesia. The oral surgeon will make an incision in the gum tissue to expose the tooth and bone. The wisdom tooth will be removed in sections. The oral surgeon will then clean the area and close the incisions with dissolvable sutures.
When Dental X-rays Show Wisdom Teeth That Haven’t Erupted
Although wisdom teeth may be positioned beneath the gumline, this does not necessarily mean that they will emerge. Oral x-rays can help a dentist to determine whether unerupted wisdom teeth need to be removed. In most cases, wisdom teeth are extracted due to their positioning beneath the gumline. In cases where wisdom teeth have not erupted, it is typically because they are lying sideways or there is not enough space for them to emerge. This is referred to as “impaction” by dentists. Impacted wisdom teeth are the most common reason for extraction.
Impacted Wisdom Tooth Symptoms
Impacted wisdom teeth can be painful. The worst part is they can potentially be infected with pericoronitis. Symptoms include fever, dental pain, puss discharge, bleeding, swollen lymph nodes, and inability to chew. Dentists may prescribe an antibiotic to eliminate the infection in wisdom teeth before removing them. Cutting into the gum during an impacted wisdom tooth infection will cause bacteria to spread to the rest of the body. The American Dental Association recommends that if wisdom teeth become infected, cause damage to other teeth, or show signs of decay, they should be removed. If ignored, these issues could develop into more serious infections of the mouth.
Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Painful?
Tooth Extractions can be anxiety-inducing for many patients. It is important to discuss your care options and comfort level with your doctor prior to the procedure to ensure a successful outcome. If teeth are growing underneath your wisdom teeth, you are likely to need wisdom teeth extraction without sedation. Your dentist will first supply you with injections of local anesthesia that will last the whole procedure. You may find your gums being pulled or tugging, but no pain or discomfort. Many patients experience numbness for hours after the procedure. This can typically improve within a few days afterward with the use of nonprescription pain relievers. The surgical removal of embedded wisdom teeth may require the administration of general anesthesia, especially for patients who need all four wisdom teeth extracted. Sedation for wisdom teeth usually lasts for approximately one hour. After having wisdom teeth removed, it is normal to experience some discomfort for a few days. Your dentist may prescribe pain medication to help manage any discomfort you may feel. Most people recover from wisdom tooth extraction within a few days.