Wisdom teeth are the final teeth that emerge from your mouth. They commonly appear in your late teens or early twenties. It is a normal stage of mouth development. These teeth are located at the back of the jaw, and most people have four wisdom teeth in total, two on top of the jaw and two on the bottom.
Wisdom teeth problems occur when there is insufficient space in your jaw or when they are stuck in the wrong place when erupting. This is a common scenario, which is why they cause pain and discomfort when they emerge. Pain in the wisdom teeth may resolve on its own but in some cases, it will need active home management or treatment in hospital or surgery.
Why do we have Wisdom Tooth?
In many cases, there is only enough room in the mouth for 28 teeth. If all four wisdom teeth emerge, resulting in 32 teeth, overcrowding may occur.
What are wisdom teeth for if the mouth only has room for 28 teeth?
One popular concept holds that wisdom teeth function as replacement teeth for our ancestors Today, we eat soft or sensitive foods, and most of us practice proper oral hygiene. Both factors contribute to lower the likelihood of tooth loss. Because our ancestors ate different meals – perhaps not as soft – and did not have regular dental visits. They may have had problems with their teeth and gums, such as dental decay or tooth loss. If this is the case, wisdom teeth might provide additional teeth for chewing.
Causes of Wisdom Tooth Pain
A variety of factors might contribute to wisdom tooth pain, including
- Impaction: This occurs when a wisdom tooth doesn’t have enough room to grow properly and becomes stuck in the jawbone.
- Infection: Wisdom teeth can be infected, which can lead to pain, swelling, and discomfort.
- Pericoronitis: This is an inflammation of gums around a partially erupted wisdom tooth.
- Crowding: Wisdom teeth can crowd the other teeth in the mouth, which leads to pain and discomfort.
Symptoms of Wisdom Tooth Pain
Symptoms of tooth pain include;
- Pain in the back of the mouth, around the jaw bone.
- Swelling and redness in gums.
- Pus coming from the gum.
- Difficulty chewing or biting.
- Bad breath.
- A Foul taste in the mouth.
Why does Pain in the Wisdom Teeth Come and Go?
As wisdom teeth emerge improperly, it puts pressure on gums and neighbouring teeth causing pain and discomfort and it goes on /off in cycles. The flap of gum that covers the biting surface of the wisdom tooth can become swollen and get trapped between the teeth, which can cause more pain.
Wisdom Tooth Removal Process
Examination and consultation
A consultation with an oral surgeon or a dentist is usually the first step in the process. To determine the position and growth of the wisdom teeth, X-rays are obtained.
A local anaesthetic is used to numb the region around the tooth before extraction. In some cases, particularly when numerous teeth are being extracted, general anaesthesia may be used, keeping you unconscious during the process.
Tissue Extraction and Incision
In some cases, a minor incision in the gum tissue may be required to gain access to the tooth. Following that, the dentist or oral surgeon will remove any bone that may be obstructing access to the tooth’s root.
Using specially designed dental equipment, the tooth is then gradually loosened. In some instances, If the tooth is impacted or has not fully erupted, it may need to be sectioned (split into tiny pieces) for simpler removal.
Stitching (if required)
Depending on the circumstances, the wound may be sewn up. Dissolvable sutures are generally used.
The extraction site is covered with gauze to help reduce bleeding. Post-operative care instructions will include how to care for the extraction site as well as what to eat and avoid in the days following the extraction.
A follow-up consultation to ensure appropriate healing and to address any concerns may be planned.
The initial healing period usually lasts a few days to a few weeks, during which time any pain or swelling should gradually reduce. The socket left by the extracted tooth progressively fills up with new tissue, which can take several weeks.
Complications that could arise:
While wisdom teeth extraction is a common surgery, complications such as dry socket (a painful condition in which the blood clot at the extraction site dislodges or dissolves prematurely) or infection can occur. It is critical to follow post-operative care guidelines to reduce these hazards.
Treatment for Wisdom Tooth Pain
If the wisdom tooth is impacted or infected, it may need to be removed. Treatment for wisdom teeth will depend on the underlying cause. This surgical procedure can be performed by a dentist or oral surgeon.
- Pain relievers: Dentists generally prescribe Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Antibiotics: If the wisdom tooth is infected then antibiotics may be prescribed.
- Gargle/Rinses: Saltwater rinses to soothe the gums and reduce inflammation.
- Braces or Invisalign: In some cases, braces or Invisalign are used to create more space in the mouth for wisdom teeth to grow properly.
When to Visit a Dentist
- Severe pain or swelling
- Difficulty in eating
- Jaw stiffness
- Sinus pain
- Persistent bleeding
- Pain radiating to the ear or neck
Wisdom tooth extraction is a common dental procedure performed to address potential oral health issues. If you are having pain and discomfort in your wisdom tooth or any related dental issues. Ignoring impacted wisdom teeth might lead to more difficulties. Consult with a professional dentist at Complete Smiles, to determine the best course of action for a pain-free and healthy smile.