Wisdom teeth tend to be our most troublesome teeth. They are our third set of molars and are the last ones to come through, usually when we are in our late teens, early 20s or even older. Often there is simply not enough space in our mouths for them, so they are very prone to becoming stuck, or impacted.
Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom tooth pain can be quite intense, and typically feels like throbbing and/or pressure at the back of the mouth or jaw, along with swollen, tender gums. Ear pain, jaw pain, a sore throat or headache can all be caused by impacted wisdom teeth, as well as having persistent bad breath.
Major problems can occur when the tooth becomes stuck, or impacted, due to a lack of space for it to come through the gum normally. A partially erupted wisdom tooth is where it has not come through the gum fully, and this makes it more prone to bacterial infections or cysts. The back of your mouth is already an area that can be harder to keep clean, and partially emerged wisdom teeth can act like a magnet for bacteria that cause gum disease and infections. Symptoms of an infected wisdom tooth include pain and swelling at the infection site, bleeding and tender gums, swollen lymph glands, difficulty swallowing and fever.
Because so many wisdom teeth come in crooked, they can also affect the alignment of your teeth and bite by putting pressure on neighbouring teeth.
Wisdom Teeth Removal
Assessment of your wisdom teeth begins with an appointment with your dentist, who will examine the area and take x-rays to determine if the tooth is impacted and how it is sitting in your jaw. In many cases wisdom teeth removal can be performed by your dentist safely, painlessly and very quickly using local anaesthetic, just like a regular tooth extraction. Recovery usually takes a few days where you will need to avoid eating on the extraction side of your mouth, avoid hot foods and beverages, and may require a standard course of antibiotics to guard against infection.
More complicated wisdom teeth removal, such as where an incision in the gum tissue is necessary to expose the tooth and surrounding bone, may be required where the tooth as not emerged sufficiently through the gum. In these cases a dentist experienced in oral surgery, or specialist oral surgeon, will need to perform the extraction.
If you are concerned about your wisdom teeth, please contact us for a consultation. We can assess your wisdom teeth and recommend the best course of treatment.