what is Wisdom tooth?
A wisdom tooth is the common name applied to the third molar teeth, the last tooth in the back. In a fully erupted and complete number of teeth, you will find four third molar teeth, with two in the upper jaw and two in lower.
Wisdom teeth are a common type of impacted teeth. Impacted tooth is a one fails to erupts due to some factors that affect the normal eruption and emergence of the tooth and will remain either covered in the alveolar ridge or can be exposed into the gum.
Lack of adequate space for normal eruption will cause the wisdom tooth to be obstructed and, therefore, lead to complications and risks to other adjacent teeth or even infections or cysts in the gums and surrounding soft tissues around. Around 20% of people may have one or two impacted wisdom teeth in their mouth.
Depending on whether the wisdom tooth is causing harm or not, a dentist or a maxillofacial surgeon can remove it in a surgical process. Some dentists may suggest wisdom tooth removal even earlier before any apparent signs and symptoms start to begin. This is to prevent gum diseases and damages to other teeth near the wisdom tooth.
There are several reasons for the occurrence of impacted wisdom teeth like:
- lack of space for normal eruption
- delayed eruption of a tooth, which causes the tooth to remain in the gum
- crowded teeth
- abnormal tooth’s position
- late root development of the tooth
- genetic syndromes and diseases
The goal of wisdom teeth removal should be in the improvement of oral health and minimize any possible risks or complications. According to American association of oral and maxillofacial surgeons (AAOMS), it begin to come in between the ages of 17 to 25 years old and removal can be done easier in younger ages due to immature root formation, better bone healing and soft tissue complications and less risks of nerve damages.
Wisdom tooth will result in many problems with your oral and dental health if it has caused impaction and goes untreated. Although the coming in of a wisdom tooth, which has enough space, may have mild pain like teething in some conditions, in most situations it is not true. Wisdom teeth can be painful and will require surgical removal.
Nearby teeth (second molars) will be at risks of the pressures and possible infections. Pain and discomfort are just one side of the complications associated with wisdom tooth risks. When impacted wisdom teeth will hardly break though the gum and are partially exposed or impacted (trapped), cleaning and oral hygiene becomes difficult. Thus, tooth decay and dental caries are highly possible risks.
situation, impacted wisdom tooth can cause problems including:
- gum problems like periodontal diseases
- damages to the adjacent teeth
- cysts and tumors
How are wisdom teeth diagnosed?
By taking radiographic imaging, a dentist or surgeon will detect the current condition of your wisdom teeth. They will explain whether or not the impacted wisdom tooth is causing any injuries to the adjacent teeth. CT scan, X-rays and MRI scanning are used by dentists to give a clear picture of the wisdom teeth. The wisdom tooth may have impacted and created an unwanted problem, which in turn, surgery will be the option to choose and removal is done.
Surgical removal of wisdom teeth
Extraction of wisdom teeth is similar to other tooth extraction surgeries but with several more skills that surgeons will need.
After you are positioned for a more comfortable angle for the surgery, analgesics and necessary anesthetics are applied to the site of the wisdom tooth extraction. You will feel that the area is completely numb and ready for the procedure. Then the surgeon cuts the soft tissue and exposes the impacted tooth.
Your surgeon will remove as enough bon as necessary to have the tooth exposed. This is why if extraction is performed in younger ages (at 25years of age and lower) the bone density is lower and this makes removal a lot easier and the healing faster. Then the impacted wisdom tooth is separated from other parts and removed from the extraction site.
The surgeon uses bone file instrument to file the bone in the extraction site and any remaining bone debris is cleaned off. This is to prevent bone spur and other bone debris from causing any problems. The area is sterilized and irrigated carefully to prevent infection. Finally, the soft tissue is closed with sutures. Your dentist provides the dos and don’ts after extracting your wisdom tooth. See our post for what to do after a tooth extraction.
How long does it take for wisdom teeth to heal?
Normally, you may need several days or a week to heal up from the wounds of wisdom tooth extraction. In young people, it may even take 2 days because of faster bone healing advantages and in older people 4 days or more may be needed for healing. Depending on your procedure, healing may take even more.
Am I going to have a difficult or an easy wisdom tooth surgery?
To answer this question, your surgeon should know the way in which your impacted wisdom tooth has grown. A wisdom tooth can be partially exposed into the gum or completely trapped in the gum. The position of wisdom tooth with its angle, its depth, the second molar tooth position and the amount of bone removal are all effective in how your wisdom tooth extraction would go.
By taking the necessary diagnostic images, your dentist or oral surgeon will explain whether the surgery requires more skill or it is just another common wisdom teeth removal surgery. But in any case, you shouldn’t have any worries because of anesthesia and numbing agents that are applied to go through the surgery.
What happens if wisdom teeth are not removed at the appropriate age?
Wisdom teeth in younger ages can be extracted if the dentist or oral surgeon sees it as necessary. Whether it is because of preventing periodontal disease or mainly due to crowded teeth, a wisdom tooth removal will be performed. With the help of orthodontics and eventually removal of the impacted wisdom teeth, there will be enough room available for teeth to erupt and fit in the correct place.
Risks of the wisdom teeth removal can increase by age. Individuals who are older than 25 years of age may develop common complications in their extraction procedure. Complications such as dry socket and nerve damages in deep the alveolar region are common injuries. It is good to know that these types of injuries can be prevented if you follow the oral surgeon’s recommendation of wisdom teeth removal the at the appropriate age and not older ages.
Wisdom teeth pain
The pain of an impacted wisdom tooth can be severe depending on the conditions and timing. But sever pains happens because of untreated wisdom teeth. When infections and cysts have appeared or when the adjacent tooth are affected. It is advised that you seek dentist’s help and have your wisdom teeth checked before a painful emergency situation comes.
How do you relieve pain from wisdom teeth?
You can easily stop the wisdom teeth pain days or night if you follow the necessary care tips. The pain of wisdom tooth can be prevented and goes away if you:
- Take over-the-counter pain medication before the effect of the surgical analgesics subsides. Your dentist will recommend the dose and the type of pain medications that you need
- Use home remedies like salt water rinse to get rid of pain and infection
- Go soft on foods, drinks. Avoid hard, hot or too cold foods and drinks. Eat liquid and watery foods.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol to prevent risks of infections or irritation
- Brush gently and away from the wisdom tooth extraction area.
- Use oral hygiene products like mouthwashes to help out cleaning your mouth better
- Avoid spitting out your saliva forcefully. Any pressures and mechanical force in your mouth can trigger bleeding when healing is not complete
- Sleep with an elevated head position to prevent any pain and discomfort
Should I remove my wisdom tooth when there is no pain?
You may have gone with wisdom teeth hidden in the gum with no pain in years. It means that your wisdom teeth have not been impacted and you may not need removal of your wisdom tooth. But this may not be the case in most of the time. If your dentist or oral surgeon recommends a removal as a preventive way to stop future oral health risks from happening, removal is the best idea. Since you may be confronted with unwanted oral health issues, which pain in the middle of the night is one potential concern. It is required to have your teeth and gums checked in order to know if there are any unerupted wisdom teeth. Then dentists will take necessary CT scans or X-rays which allows them to check with high precision your wisdom tooth condition. If removal is suggested, follow what your dentist thinks is necessary.
Does wisdom teeth removal hurt?
Removing the wisdom teeth can be a difficult surgery, but dentist will use stronger analgesics to prevent pain and discomfort. Dentists or oral surgeons will use stronger analgesics such as bupivacaine to efficiently manage the pain even for a longer period. The effects of stronger analgesics can take longer hours to subside and you will feel longer time of numbing at the site or side of surgery in the mouth. Before the effects of the analgesics go away, your dentist will prescribe suitable over-the-counter pain medications that should be taken. By following regular but not over using these pain medications, wisdom teeth removal pain can be prevented and you go along nicely and comfortably during healing time.