What are wisdom teeth? Wisdom teeth are those most back teeth in your mouth – the molars – that come through and grow out last during oral development. They typically emerge during your late teens or early twenties. Normally, two wisdom teeth are found in the upper jaw, with two teeth down in the lower jaw. However, there are some people who have less than four molars while others may have no sets of wisdom teeth at all.
During growth, there are also times when the wisdom tooth emerges at an unnatural angle – this often causes it to push into the gums or even the tooth beside it. This is a problem known as impaction: growing at an angle renders a wisdom tooth completely useless – as it can’t help with chewing – and oftentimes causes extreme pain and that particular wisdom tooth may need removal. Unfortunately, wisdom teeth are also problematic in other ways, too.
Problems with Wisdom Teeth
- Wisdom teeth require ample room to grow: without enough space in the jaw for optimal growth, this can stop them from coming through as they should.
- Wisdom teeth can be painful: brushing or even flossing these teeth can be incredibly difficult. As food and bacteria typically get stuck between the wisdom tooth and its adjoining tooth, this can lead to serious tooth decay and troubling gum infections.
So what’s the best course of action for problematic wisdom teeth?
Problem Wisdom Teeth are Best Removed Early
Unfortunately, wisdom teeth do not usually cause any pain or discomfort until it is almost too late – that is, until they start doing damage. As such, it is best to discover if your wisdom teeth are likely to cause you any problems sooner rather than later. Fortunately, the roots of wisdom teeth are still forming during adolescence, so this often makes for the optimal time of removal. Waiting later in life to extract them, once the roots have fully formed, can be problematic and complicated – especially considering the increased risk of infection.
Symptoms of Wisdom Teeth Infection
There exist numerous signs of gum infection as caused by wisdom teeth. These often include:
- Red gums near the suspect wisdom tooth; the emergence of pus from the gum itself; in addition to swelling, pain, and inflammation.
- Lymph glands located beneath the jaw may also become sore and swollen – this may cause you difficulty in swallowing or even opening your mouth.
- Feverish symptoms are also common.
There are, however, a number of ways to combat an infected wisdom tooth quickly and efficiently.
Treatment for Wisdom Teeth Infection
Infections caused by wisdom teeth are often simply treated with antibiotics. Though this can serve as an effective albeit temporary solution, the infection, however, may return and persist: in fact, symptoms can keep coming back until the problem wisdom teeth are properly removed.
Removal of Wisdom Teeth
Accurate X-Rays can assist in judging whether or not your wisdom teeth might start causing you problems. However, some wisdom teeth never cause any issues and do not require removal at all. In some cases, your dentist or oral surgeon may only need to make a minor incision to a small part of your gums in order to help wisdom teeth emerge.
If they do need extracting, a local or general anaesthetic will be used, making the procedure completely painless. As wisdom teeth are large, the space where the tooth once was may require stitching in order to help it heal quickly and properly. In this case, it’s perfectly normal for both your gums and jaw to be sore, swollen and even bleed for as many as a few days after having a wisdom tooth removed.