Teeth that appear after all the permanent teeth have erupted and appear right at the back of the mouth. They get their name as they erupt when a person is older and mature. A total of four wisdom teeth appear, two on the top jaw and two on the bottom jaw. But not every adult has wisdom teeth, it is not seen in many. They are the widest of the molar teeth, they aid in grinding food.
Many think that wisdom teeth bring immense pain and hence it is important or safer to remove them. Not everyone has problems with wisdom teeth, only some have associated issues. It is important to check with the dentist if there are symptoms that affect oral health. During daily brushing and cleaning, for maintaining good dental health any unusual symptoms or signs noticed should be checked with the dentist.
Signs that show the need for wisdom tooth removal
This is one of the first signs noticed if there is some issue with wisdom teeth. But this should not be confused with the normal pain that comes with each tooth eruption. The pain felt with impacted wisdom teeth is severe and increases with time. Impacted wisdom tooth results when the teeth do not have space to erupt or develop normally. They will get caught in the jaw bone itself being embedded in it or stay just below the jaw line.
When you see infection inside the mouth, especially in the last tooth it is an indication that further checking needs to be done. Inflammation is seen in the area where the wisdom tooth will emerge. Tissues get swollen, tenderness and redness are seen – these are signs of infection. When the wisdom tooth is partially impacted, infection chances are high. This condition though is seen mostly in the lower molars and not in the upper jaw areas.
Cysts developing in the teeth, particularly wisdom teeth, is also a sign that points to its extraction. Teeth will develop in a sac in the jaw bone. These sacs form over the partially erupted or impacted teeth. These sacs will attract bacterial infection, which can also spread to other neighbouring teeth and damage them. Along with the teeth decay, damage to the jaw bone is also noticed. Besides cysts, tumours also can develop when the wisdom teeth are impacted.
Affecting neighbouring teeth
Sometimes, wisdom teeth may affect and damage the dental health of the neighbouring teeth. Wisdom teeth sometimes do not get enough space to erupt. They will then push against the adjacent teeth. The molars then will be pressured and overcrowding of teeth will be seen. This situation can also lead to increased chances of infection as food debris becomes lodged between crowded teeth. If the situation is severe it will also need orthodontic treatment.
Another concern that crops up due to wisdom teeth is gum disease. An impacted wisdom tooth is stuck in the gums. This will cause the gum tissue to be swollen and tender. Bleeding from the gums can also be seen in some cases. Pain is felt severely as the gum tissues are also infected. The health of the gum tissues gets eroded and they are unable to provide support to the teeth.
Widespread tooth decay
Decay is seen in the case of partially impacted wisdom teeth. It is very difficult to clean this type of teeth. Brushing and flossing will not be able to clean the wisdom tooth. This will attract plaque and tartar formation and attract more bacterial action. The decay will then spread to neighbouring teeth also and the dental health gets affected. If the wisdom tooth is crooked, then the root of the tooth can also affect the root of adjacent molars.
The procedure of wisdom teeth removal
Wisdom teeth removal is done when the tooth is impacted and will bring in decay to adjacent teeth and affected oral health. Impacted teeth – partial or full will need dental surgery to remove. This is because the wisdom tooth is stuck in the jaw bone and will need to be extracted by cutting the jaw bone. If there is an infection, then the procedure will be done after the infection is cleared. Dentists will prescribe antibiotics and pain killers to help with the infection cleaning.
The dental surgery is conducted under anaesthesia. After the area is numb, the dentists will begin the procedure. If there is any gum tissue over the tooth, then it is removed first. Then the anchoring of the tooth is removed. The root that connects the tooth to the bone is removed to ease the process. Then the impacted tooth is removed. Sometimes the dentist will remove the tooth in pieces and not as a whole tooth. After the surgery is done, stitches will be placed, they will dissolve in a few days’ time.
As surgery has been performed, the pain will be felt for a few days but it will soon diminish. Dentists will be prescribing pain killers to tide over this pain and to cut off any infection. Care should be taken after the surgery as this will aid in the easy recovery. Numbness in the area will be felt for some time after the surgery so one should be careful not to bite in the area where the surgery has been done. The swelling will be seen in the cheeks, placing a cold compress will help to bring down the swelling.
Consuming food and drinks should also be taken care of. Drinking from straw should be avoided for the first few days. This is because a blood clot will be formed while healing, using a straw will dislodge it and bring in more bleeding. Soft food can be taken as this will help to reduce the strain and pressure on the teeth in general. If the bleeding or the pain is severe and unbearable then check with the dentist, they will be able to guide you on what needs to be done.