People talk of wisdom teeth nightmares, but not all wisdom teeth are problematic. In fact, removal may be unnecessary if the teeth erupt in the proper position.
Yet, some wisdom teeth fail to erupt all the way. Sometimes they grow in crooked; other times they remain in the jawbone. This may cause sore gums and discomfort, pain or infection.
Before age 20, wisdom teeth have less developed roots and fewer complications. The American Dental Association encourages teens to get a wisdom tooth evaluation. This can help determine if removal is good prevention of future problems.
Wisdom Teeth Symptoms
Certain wisdom teeth signs and symptoms help dentists decide if extraction is necessary. Common signs include pain, infection, damage to other teeth, cysts, and gum disease. Tooth decay may also be a problem if there is poor access for a filling or crown.
When wisdom teeth have no room to erupt, they can become trapped (or impacted) in the jaw. This often causes infection or cysts, which can damage the jawbone and teeth roots.
Wisdom teeth that do not emerge all the way are a magnet for bacteria. Teeth that grow in crooked can crowd the mouth and damage other teeth.
Wisdom Teeth Treatment
The decision to remove wisdom teeth is not always clear. You Port Washington dental team here at 3V Dental, or oral surgeon, can help people choose the right treatment. Removal is almost always recommended for impacted teeth.
Extraction is a routine dental procedure performed with care. It is effective for pain relief as well as for the prevention of future dental problems.
Dentists and surgeons may recommend local anesthesia to eliminate discomfort during an extraction. If part of the tooth remains in the bone, a patient may need the relief of IV sedation or general anesthesia.
In uncomplicated cases, a dentist may pull a wisdom tooth. If a person has an embedded tooth, a surgeon will cut into the gum to remove the tooth in sections. This minimizes the amount of bone lost during the extraction.
After surgery, the patient receives care guidelines to follow. This includes biting down on a piece of gauze for 30 minutes to limit bleeding. The patient may need to change the gauze a few times until the bleeding stops.
Some pain and swelling may occur after surgery, and the mouth may be sore from the procedure. This is normal and should stop in a few days. For prolonged pain, swelling, fever or bleeding, a call to the dentist is prudent.
Wisdom Teeth Complications
Dry socket is a complication associated with teeth removal. After an extraction, a blood clot forms in the tooth socket to help the mouth heal. Dry socket may occur if the clot breaks down or becomes dislodged. This causes the bone and roots to be exposed.
Dry socket is most common during the first five days after surgery. Only two to five percent of people develop this complication. For those who do, it is very painful and requires a visit to the dentist.
The dentist may prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infection. A prescription painkiller can ease the pain. With proper care and rest, dry socket usually heals in a week or so.
Of the related conditions, pericoronitis is the most common. Pericoronitis is an infection that can develop with a partly erupted tooth. It occurs when food and plague become trapped under gum tissue that covers the tooth.
Signs of pericoronitis are sore and swollen gums, pus near the tooth, and bad tastes or smells. Other symptoms include swollen lymph nodes and muscle spasms in the jaw.
A warm salt-water rinse is a common treatment. A dentist may also prescribe an antibiotic and painkiller. If necessary, a surgeon can remove the affected tooth.