Wisdom teeth are third molars that are located in the very back of the mouth. For most people, these teeth come in during the late teens or early twenties. Wisdom teeth are often pulled, but this may not be necessary in all cases. It is important to consult with a professional when your wisdom teeth come in, but knowing a little about wisdom teeth beforehand may help make the experience less worrisome.
Cutting Teeth Can Be Painful
Wisdom tooth pain may come on strong suddenly or a gradual ache may slowly creep in. In some cases the pain may simply be caused by the teeth cutting through the gums. In other cases, the mouth may be too crowded and the teeth may be putting pressure on the nerves of the surrounding tissue. Wisdom teeth may also hurt because of infection or impaction, which can jeopardize health and well being. Pain may be isolated to the teeth and gums, or may affect the cheeks and ears.
Pain Management Techniques Can Be Helpful
Applying ice to the face or placing ice chips on the gums near erupting wisdom teeth may help to dull the pain. Rinsing the mouth out with salt water may help to keep the mouth clean and can prevent infections caused by trapped food. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers may also help to alleviate pain. While these techniques may provide temporary relief, a dentist should be seen to assess the health of the erupting teeth and to provide a more permanent solution.
Wisdom Teeth May Be Problematic
If wisdom teeth don’t come in straight or if there is not enough room in the mouth for the additional teeth, the surrounding teeth may become damaged or the alignment of the teeth may be affected. If wisdom teeth come in sideways or only erupt partially, it can allow bacteria to infect the gums and tissue surrounding the tooth. Cysts may also form due to irritation on the gums and tissue. Extracting wisdom teeth may help to prevent these issues.
Tooth Removal Difficulty May Vary
Wisdom tooth extractions have become commonplace, so these procedures are usually straightforward. If wisdom teeth simply have to be extracted, it may be possible to have the procedure done at a dentist’s office. In the case of impactions and complications, however, an oral surgeon may need to extract the teeth. In some cases only one tooth may need to be extracted, while in other cases, two or more wisdom teeth may need to be extracted.
Healing Is Generally Fast and Uncomplicated
After wisdom teeth have been extracted, solid foods should be avoided for a short time. Applying ice to the area will bring down swelling. Smoking must be avoided and the empty socket must not be touched, in order to prevent a painful condition called dry socket. Pain medication may be prescribed or over-the-counter brands may be recommended. Recovery usually only takes a few days, after which patients can resume normal activities.