Toothache is a major source of pain and frustration that can stop you from having a normal day. The cause of pain usually differs and may be manifested through different types of teeth. Some of which are the wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth are the last molars on both the upper and lower jaws and they usually appear when you become an adult. Given their location, wisdom teeth can appear normally without causing any problems. In some cases, they can cause problems on the nearby teeth especially when they grow crookedly. Regardless of reason, the uncertainty of removing wisdom teeth is common.
Problems with wisdom teeth
Wisdom teeth sometimes develop problems that may lead to their removal but the decision to remove them mostly depends on age. Most of those problems only happen to those under 25 years but most people over 30 experience fewer problems. This is why it’s advisable to have the wisdom teeth checked regularly once you reach 16 years. Some common causes of pain on wisdom teeth include :
1. Being impacted
Sometimes the jaws may not be big enough for the wisdom teeth to grow properly in which case they become impacted. This means the teeth will not be able to fully emerge from the gums. This will result in problems such as partial teeth and crowding. They may crowd the nearby teeth causing discomfort or may be difficult to clean because they will not be fully exposed.
2. Tooth Cavities
Given the location of the wisdom teeth, cleaning them properly is a bit difficult. The challenge is enhanced when the teeth are partial. They can then harbor bacteria that will lead to cavities or gum disease. The result is intense pain that may force you to remove them.
3. Cysts development
Impacted wisdom teeth that have decayed can develop cysts which may cause a lot of pain. Different types of cysts may occur and may contain pus, blood or clear fluid. They may also be cancer-causing cysts. Depending on the type and how much they have progressed, you may be given a variety of treatment options such as draining with a needle or cutting the area to remove them. In some cases, the entire tooth will have to be removed.
Removing wisdom teeth
A visit to your dentist will determine if you need to remove wisdom teeth or use other treatment options. If the best option is to remove then the dentist will start by explaining the entire procedure and allowing you to ask any questions. Make sure you understand the process involved as well as the risks and possible complications. It may be a minor surgery but there are always risks. During the process, you will have anesthesia administered which means you will not feel any pain until it wears off. You may, however, feel some pressure especially if a small section of the gum is cut to aid in the removal. The process doesn’t usually last long so it shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes.
After the removal, you may have inflammation around the area and it may be visible on the outside. You may also have some bruising but it will be minor. These should last 3 days but sometimes it may go up to 2 weeks. You should have someone to drive you home after the removal because driving may be risky.
Risks associated with wisdom teeth removal
Apart from the pain and swelling on your gums, you should also expect to bleed for a few hours. In some cases, you may not be able to move your jaw properly and may feel intense pain when you try to.
Other risks include damage to the nearby teeth and gums, failure to heal fast enough, swelling and pain that results from “dry socket”. This usually happens when the clot that was protecting the hole in your gum is removed before the area is healed. The numbness caused by the anesthesia may also fail to wear off completely and you may have to open your sinus cavity if the procedure is done on the upper jaw but these rarely happen. You may also develop infections on the open gum especially if you smoke.
A severe risk is damage to the nerves. This may lead to a tingling feeling on your lips, gums, chin and the other teeth. This is also a rare complication and it doesn’t usually last long. In case any debris becomes trapped in the socket, you may develop pus but it can be drained and any infections will be cured by antibiotics.
All these are avoidable if you follow the instructions given by your dentist properly. They also last a few days and will not cause permanent damage in most cases.
Why you should remove your wisdom teeth
Failing to remove your wisdom teeth can also lead to complications which may have diverse effects than the risks involved with removal. One of them is intense pain especially if the tooth is impacted or has a cavity. If a partial growth isn’t removed, you may have a flap over the tooth which will trap food and become a breeding ground for bacteria. The longer it will remain there the more it will affect the nearby teeth. Bacteria will easily spread to them causing more cavities and decay.
A crooked wisdom tooth that isn’t removed may also grow towards other teeth thereby disrupting their growing process. The fact that the location of the teeth makes them harder to clean is another reason why they should be removed. If left intact they will easily develop gum problems.
Despite these, a dentist will recommend you remove wisdom teeth under specific circumstances. For instance, if the teeth are in great condition and you can clean and floss them properly then they will not be removed. However, if you’re under a lot of pain and the problem cannot be rectified any other way then removal will be advised. If they are impacted or if they crowd the other teeth then removal will be the best solution.
The decision to extract wisdom teeth is a personal one and differs from every person but they are risks associated with not removing them. Although your dentist will advise you on the best action to take you still have to make the decision yourself. Weight the pros and cons of having the teeth removed and consider all the risks involved with every situation. Whatever you decide, make sure you visit your dentist for checkups frequently and practice proper oral hygiene.
For information on the importance of wisdom teeth, check out this quick video: