At about the age of 17, wisdom teeth begin to come in. Most often they don’t come in straight, and there usually isn’t enough room in your mouth for another molar.
Wisdom teeth can cause discomfort and the need for you to visit your dentist.
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt. There are usually four wisdom teeth – two on top and two on the bottom. They rarely come in normally, and most often need to be removed. Wisdom tooth pain is a common symptom of these teeth trying to erupt.
Since wisdom teeth come into the very back of your mouth, they don’t always have space to come in as straight as your other molars. They oftentimes come in sideways and misaligned. They push on other teeth as they try to erupt and cause crowding.
As your wisdom teeth come in they can cause mild to severe discomfort. Wisdom tooth pain isn’t always localized to the actual wisdom tooth. You may have pain in and around the new tooth, pain around your other teeth – and even pain in and around your ear. Oddly enough, sometimes there is no pain, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t problems brewing.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth become impacted when they are blocked from erupting. This may or may not cause pain. You might not even realize that the tooth is there. Sometimes the impacted tooth does cause pain and it can cause infection that needs to be treated. An impacted wisdom tooth can a serious infection if left untreated. An impacted wisdom tooth is prone to decay, which can add to the probability of infection.
There are several symptoms that can lead you to visit your dentist:
- Painful jaw when opening your mouth
- Pain with biting or chewing
- Swollen gums at the back of your mouth
- Unpleasant taste in your mouth
Wisdom tooth pain and discomfort can come and go. You may experience it for a few days only to have it disappear and then return.
Treatment for Wisdom Teeth
Minor pain can be relieved by rinsing with salt water and over-the-counter pain relievers. This is only a temporary solution. The best way to avoid serious problems and wisdom tooth pain is to have your wisdom tooth removed, especially if your symptoms continue.
Your dentist will be able to assess the problem by x-raying your mouth to see what position your wisdom tooth is in, and how it is affecting your other teeth. If your tooth has become infected, your dentist may recommend antibiotics to treat the infection for a few days before your tooth is removed.
The process of wisdom teeth extraction begins with a discussion with your dentist on how the tooth will be removed and the anesthetic to be used. Your wisdom teeth will be extracted by your dentist making small incisions into the gums to remove the tooth in sections to minimize complications. The extraction of your tooth usually takes about 30 minutes.
Following the extraction of your wisdom tooth you may have some swelling of your jaw and cheeks. It is important that you follow your dentist’s instructions carefully in order to have a good recovery.
Gauze packs will be placed over the area of the extraction and should be left intact for at least the first hour after surgery. It is important to not disturb the area of the extraction but keep the mouth clean. You will need to change the gauze as necessary. You may have stitches that will dissolve or some that may need to be removed in a few days.
Plan on resting the day following your wisdom tooth extraction. Too much activity will increase the bleeding and swelling, as well as increasing your pain. Strenuous exercise should be avoided for 3-4 days after your wisdom tooth has been removed.
Always call your dental professional if you have any questions or if you experience more pain, bleeding or swelling than expected.
If you are experiencing wisdom tooth pain, the best thing to do is make an appointment with your dentist. Many people have all four of their wisdom teeth removed at the same time. Having your wisdom teeth removed isn’t a pleasant experience but will prevent crowding of your back teeth, gum disease and prevent the wisdom tooth from becoming stuck in your jaw. You will recover fully over the next few days and continue your regular oral hygiene and get back to your normal activities.