Wisdom teeth are the lower and upper third molars; located at the back of the teeth and usually erupt between the ages of 17 and 21, which can be painful. Wisdom teeth can grow at the wrong angle and become lodged in the gums, causing radiating pain in adjacent teeth. An impacted tooth can cause pain not only in the gums, but also in the jaw, ear, and head. Usually, crowded teeth are the main cause.
According to the American Dental Association, wisdom tooth extraction may be necessary if you notice changes in these areas of your mouth. Repeated infections of the soft tissue behind the last tooth and fluid-filled sacs (cysts) can also be reasons for a wisdom tooth removal.
We call them wisdom teeth because they erupt at a more mature age. When they erupt properly, they help you chew. It is normal to feel uncomfortable when they appear. The problem starts when you experience acute pain.
Read on to learn what to do if you experience pain or consider having your wisdom tooth removed.
Signs & Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Below are some symptoms that indicate you should make an appointment with your dentist.
Infections of wisdom teeth are common. Pericoronitis is the medical term for an infection or inflammation of a wisdom tooth. According to a 2016 study, pericoronitis is the cause of tooth pain in 81% of 20-to 29-year-olds.
When wisdom teeth erupt, they can push against surrounding teeth and move or displace them. The movement causes discomfort in the jaw. Symptoms of this movement include pain, swelling, and stiffness that make it difficult to open the jaw or breathe.
When the gum or another tooth blocks the path of a wisdom tooth, it grows at an angle that causes damage to your gums and jaw. This situation causes ear pain, swelling, tenderness, or pain in the gums.
The increased tension in the jawbone can sometimes spread to the neck, causing neck pain. Therefore, headache and neck pain are other symptoms of an infected wisdom tooth that you should remove.
An infected wisdom tooth can sometimes trap food, plaque, and other debris in the soft tissue around it. In this case, swelling, tender gums, tooth decay, or bad breath may occur.
Your dentist may advise you to remove your wisdom tooth without symptoms as a preventive measure. This may help reduce the risk of future problems such as swelling and tooth decay.
When you have wisdom tooth pain, your jaw feels stiff, hurts, and is difficult to open. You may also experience swelling in the back of your mouth or on the side of your jaw. The pain is hard to bear and is a symptom that you should have your wisdom tooth removed.
Preparing For A Wisdom Tooth Removal Procedure
Wisdom teeth removal is an outpatient procedure, which means you can go home after the surgery. You may still want to take the day off from work before the procedure. After you confirm your appointment at the clinic, you will usually receive instructions on what to do before and during the surgery day.
It is a good idea to ask the staff if you can go home without help or if you need someone to take you home.
Another essential task is to discuss with the medical staff any medications you’re currently taking and your medical history. If you’re going to have your wisdom teeth removed, the information you give your dentist will help the doctor decide on the type of procedure and anesthesia you’ll receive.
Since the area is anesthetized, you should not feel any pain during wisdom teeth removal. If you feel pain during the procedure, you can ask your dentist to give you more pain relievers.
Depending on the type of wisdom teeth, removal can take different amounts of time. There are one-rooted, two-rooted, three-rooted, and four-rooted wisdom teeth. Sometimes the wisdom teeth are hooked. In other cases, they grow at an angle or horizontally under the gum tissue. If your wisdom teeth have decayed, food debris may remain between the teeth. Thus, pressure on an adjacent tooth or gum disease is inevitable.
Best Timing for Wisdom Teeth Removal
If your dentist advises you to have your wisdom teeth removed, the younger you are, the better. Why? Because the roots of the teeth become fully formed as you age, making removal more difficult. Susan Sanders, D.D.S., and author of Blabber Mouth! 77 Secrets Only Your Mouth Can Tell You to Live a Healthier, Happier, Sexier Life, explains that after a certain age, the vessels in the jaw diminish, making healing even longer. She believes that even if one out of four [wisdom teeth] comes through in your lifetime, you be happier if you had them removed sooner.
What to Expect After The Surgery & How To Take Care Of Yourself
Swelling and discomfort are something everyone experiences after surgery. Healing and full recovery can take several weeks.
Bleeding: Bleeding may occur after you have your wisdom tooth removed. Do not spit excessively. Replace the gauze as instructed by your dentist or oral surgeon.
Pain: Pain medications prescribed by your surgeon will help a lot. Some over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, ibuprofen, and others) can also relieve pain.
Swelling and bruising: Putting an ice pack on your jaw may help relieve the pain. It may take a few days for the swelling to go down. It takes longer for bruising to subside.
Post-surgery activities: After wisdom tooth removal, you should take it easy for the rest of the day. Do not engage in heavy activities that may move the blood clot out of the alveolus.
Drinks: You should drink plenty of water after surgery. However, alcoholic, caffeinated, hot, or carbonated beverages are off-limits for 24 hours.
Food: When you have your wisdom tooth removed, it is best to start with soft foods such as soup, yogurt, applesauce, or rice. After that, you can continue with semi-soft foods. Spicy and hot foods can irritate the wound. Hard or chewy foods can get stuck in the socket and slow wound healing.
Clean your mouth: To prevent infection, it’s important to take good care of your mouth after wisdom tooth removal. Your dentist may advise you not to brush or rinse your teeth, floss, or use mouthwash for the next 24 hours. You can rinse your mouth with warm salt water every two hours or after meals to keep the wound clean. You can continue to do this for the next week. Do not spit out the water when you rinse.
Smoking: Smoking and tobacco use can delay healing and cause further complications.
There are numerous procedures and precautions to follow before having your wisdom tooth removed. To avoid further complications and problems that could affect your life forever, it is better to work with a professional team. You can contact us anytime to make an appointment for professional help.