While their name might suggest otherwise, wisdom teeth are not always that wise. Third molars which appear significantly later than other teeth have a tendency to stay partially under the gum tissue, causing you pain, infection, and various other dental problems. The best solution, in this case, is to have them extracted.
Just when you think all the nuisance of growing new teeth is gone your body sometimes has a surprise for you. Usually, between the ages of 17 and 21, we start getting wisdom teeth, and unless there is enough room for them in your mouth, they can become impacted, and the process starts to get complicated.
An impacted tooth is a tooth that, due to the lack of room in your jaw, gets blocked as it is pushing through the gums into your mouth. They can present by swelling of the gums at the back of your mouth, difficulty in opening your jaw, pain when opening your mouth, bad breath, and a bad taste in the mouth.
In most cases, wisdom teeth are the ones that will get impacted, but there are cases of the cuspids and the bicuspids getting impacted as well. An impacted tooth can cause swelling, pain, and infection of the gum tissue surrounding it. They can also cause permanent damage to surrounding teeth, bone and gums, and in extreme cases can lead to the creations of cysts and tumors.
Your dentist can remove a wisdom tooth at their offices or in extreme cases you may need an oral or maxillofacial surgeon. In rare cases, if there is a high risk of complications or if you need several of these sometimes pesky molars removed at once, the surgery will be performed in a hospital.
The procedure is usually done using a local anesthetic, but in some situations, you may need a general anesthetic. To perform the procedure, your dentist needs to open the gum tissue covering the tooth and remove any bone that may be in the way. The dentist will then detach the tissue connecting the tooth to the bone and finally remove the tooth. In some cases, there may be a need for dental stitches.
Wisdom tooth extraction is a fairly simple procedure, and the recovery from it usually only takes a few days. However, you can help the process along. Avoid lying flat on your back, as it could prolong the bleeding. You should also try to keep your head angled. Ice packs are very helpful when applied to your cheek for around 15 to 20 minutes several times during the first day after the surgery. Keep away from hard foods and relax, as any since physical activity could tear and cause further bleeding.
It sounds worse than it is, and this simple procedure will ensure that your wisdom teeth do not bother you any longer and can prevent longer-term problems. Call your dentist and make an appointment, your mouth will greatly appreciate it.