Wisdom teeth usually don’t “erupt” through the gums until we’re teenagers or in our twenties. They are usually the last teeth to come into our mouth. The majority of us have four wisdom teeth. Quite often, there is little space at the rear of the jaw for wisdom teeth to come easily through the gums. If the jaw does not have enough room for the wisdom tooth to come through, the tooth will become wedged or impacted.
Some impacted wisdom teeth remain buried and cause no trouble. However, other impacted wisdom teeth may cause severe problems. Partially erupted wisdom teeth are very difficult to clean and brush. When food and bacteria build up between the wisdom teeth and adjacent molars, this eventually leads to tooth decay and gum infection.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF WISDOM TEETH PAIN ?
- Tenderness and jaw pain
- Swelling of the gums around the tooth
- Bad breath
- Bad taste in mouth when eating foods
- Difficulty in opening the mouth
SHOULD I GET THE WISDOM TEETH REMOVED?
For most people, impacted wisdom teeth may not cause any problems at all but for some people, they may cause a range of problems.
Troublesome wisdom teeth should be removed as soon as possible before the problems get worse.
An impacted wisdom tooth will start to push through the gum and an infection can start around the top of the tooth. Infection and inflammation can cause pain, swelling and jaw stiffness. Swallowing may be painful and the infection can cause bad breath.
If a wisdom tooth is not removed, a cyst can form around the tooth and may displace the tooth. This can destroy bone and damage other teeth and the gums. An impacted wisdom tooth may keep pushing the molar next to it. This can cause an erosion cavity where the wisdom tooth hits the other molar. This often leads to serious damage to both teeth. The molars may become infected or abscessed. Removal of both molars is often needed.
An upper wisdom tooth may push sideways out of the gum. It may cause an ulcer where it rubs against the inside of the cheek. Food can also become trapped between the wisdom tooth and the molar next to it. This can cause cavities in both teeth.
It’s always a good idea to ask about the state of play of your wisdom teeth during your check-up.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A WISDOM TOOTH REMOVAL?
The dentist will first do a thorough assessment of your wisdom teeth. This will involve taking a full mouth Xray or a CT scan of your jaws to assess the root shape and proximity of your wisdom teeth to the main nerve of the jaw. Once this is determined, we can schedule an appointment for you to have them removed.
If you find the thought of having teeth extracted a little nerve racking or are feeling a little nervous at the prospect of being fully aware of what is happening while the treatment is taking place, then we also offer the option of having them removed under IV sedation, which help to reduce pain and any anxiety during the procedure.
If your wisdom teeth are deeply embedded in the jaw, we may refer you to an Oral Surgeon who specializes in these surgeries.