Having wisdom teeth extracted is something that most people will have to go through sooner or later and could mean a trip to their oral surgeon for wisdom tooth removal. And we have all seen our friends and colleagues battling pain associated with their wisdom teeth, filling us with dread when we contemplate the fact that it is probably just a matter of time before we have to go through the same strife. But when do we know when we need to get our wisdom teeth removed and, furthermore, what exactly does the pain of this kind of impaction that everyone talks about actually feel like? If you are wondering when its time for you to say goodbye to your own wisdom teeth, then your first point of call should be to consult your dentist. They will take an X-ray to determine if your wisdom teeth are likely to cause you problems in the future and if they are at risk of decay.
The more rigorous your daily hygiene routine is with regards to your teeth, the less likely you are to be prone to infection that is often caused as a result of wisdom tooth impaction, so you need to be sure that you are using an antibacterial mouthwash a few times each day—especially after eating.
The Lowdown on Wisdom Teeth
Our wisdom teeth are often referred to as third molars and they are located at the back of your gums. The majority of adults have a total of four wisdom teeth and they are the last to come through (in some cases they never do). The reason that wisdom teeth can often be painful when they are growing through the gums is because most of us simply don’t have enough space to accommodate them appropriately. So, they start coming through at an angle, or only part of the tooth emerges, which can be very, very painful. This is known as an impacted wisdom tooth and will most likely need to be removed for the pain and discomfort to stop.
Impacted wisdom teeth are a living nightmare to put up with unless you are able to deal with pain exceptionally well. Not only are they painful, but they can also cause damage to your other teeth by overcrowding them and wisdom teeth can also penetrate the surrounding gums and may require surgery. Before you start panicking and go running to see your surgeon, however, you should also know that not all wisdom teeth cause problems and sometimes you won’t feel any pain at all—even if they are impacted.
Symptoms of an Impacted Wisdom Tooth
When your teeth came through as a child, you probably noticed some discomfort. The same is true of wisdom teeth when they come through in our early adult years. There are some typical symptoms and side effects that will present themselves if you need to have your wisdom tooth removed. Therefore, if you notice any of the following warning signs, its time to take a trip to the dentist.
The Pain Doesn’t Go Away
Like with most oral surgery requirements, if you need wisdom tooth removal, then the first major red flag is persistent sharp pain or throbbing pain as it may have become infected causing inflammation. You will notice that the actual tooth site is painful as well as the surrounding areas. Most people’s wisdom teeth start coming through in their late teens and as the rest of the teeth will already be there, the wisdom teeth are the ones that end up coming out at an awkward angle as there is no space for them. In some cases, an impacted wisdom tooth is accompanied by only minor pain, but you may notice your gums will swell in the surrounding area.
A partially emerged tooth is something that needs attention quickly, as food particles, plaque and bacteria can easily collect in the area leading to a nasty infection called pericoronitis. Bacteria collecting in and around the gum cause this infection and if left untreated, it can quickly spread into the throat and neck and chewing food can become very difficult indeed.
When wisdom teeth come through only partially, they can create an extra flap of gum tissue next to them. Not only can this be painful and irritating, but it can also harbor bacteria that can lead to pericoronitis. A more serious result of painful wisdom teeth that aren’t attended to right away is gum disease and some of the symptoms include:
- Tender gums that bleed
- Painful, swollen gums
- Lymph glands become sore and swollen
- Difficult swallowing
As a healthy adult, you should not experience difficulty eating or any pain when doing so. If you are suddenly finding it painful to eat even the softest of food, then it could be a sign that your wisdom teeth are coming through and you should visit your dentist as soon as possible.
Bad breath is one of the most undesirable symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth and it happens as a result of pus or bad bacteria building up in the area surrounding the tooth. This could indicate an infection, so while you can mask the smell with breath mints or gum, you need to get it checked out so you can treat the issue properly.
When it comes to impacted wisdom teeth, many people have symptoms like pus emerging from the gum or swelling that goes away after a couple of weeks. At this point, they usually feel relieved they are pain-free and continue on with life as normal—and therein lays the issue. Impacted wisdom teeth don’t always have aggressive symptoms that last until the tooth is removed, but that doesn’t mean that the problem has gone away! In fact, you are more likely to experience issues with your wisdom teeth further down the line if you don’t take action and get yourself checked out while you are experiencing the side-effects of an impacted wisdom tooth.