When wisdom teeth start to come through you may feel some pain or discomfort. The reason for this is because they begin to push against the teeth that are already there and thus may sometimes come through at an angle. Also, there may not be enough room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth.
If you are experiencing discomfort a visit to the dentist is advisable. An x-ray will be taken to find out if it is your wisdom teeth and how they are coming through. From the x-ray your dentist will make a judgement on whether to take them out or not. Sometimes, no treatment is required and the pain will ease. However, sometimes extraction is required but this can be done under sedation or local anaesthetic, failing that a referral can be made to a local hospital for them to be removed surgically.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
WHY DO WE HAVE WISDOM TEETH?
Adults can have a maximum of 32 teeth. The wisdom teeth or third molars are the last to come through, they are right at the back they can also be referred to the number 8 tooth. They usually appear between the ages of 17 and 25. Although sometimes they appear many years later.
Often people have jaws that are too small for all 32 teeth – 28 is often the most we have room for. So if all the other teeth are present and healthy there may not be enough room for the wisdom teeth to come through properly.
DO THEY ALWAYS CAUSE PROBLEMS?
No, not always. If there is enough room they will usually come through into a useful position and cause no more problems than any other tooth. There may be some slight discomfort as they come through, but this is only temporary and will disappear once the tooth is fully erupted and in position.
WHAT IS AN IMPACTED WISDOM TOOTH?
If there is not enough room in the mouth, sometimes the wisdom tooth may try to come through anyway, however, it may get stuck against the tooth in front of it. The wisdom tooth will then be at an angle and will be described by your dentist as ‘impacted’.
WHAT PROBLEMS SHOULD I BE PREPARED FOR?
If part of the wisdom tooth has appeared through the gum and part of it is still covered, the gum may become sore and perhaps swollen. Food debris and bacteria can collect under or around the gum edge, these areas will be difficult to clean. This is known as pericoronitis. This however, is usually a temporary problem. It can be dealt with by using mouthwashes and special cleaning methods and possibly antibiotics. If the problem keeps coming back, it may be better to have the tooth removed to stop the problem reoccurring.
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP MYSELF IF I CAN’T REACH A DENTIST?
A mouthwash of warm water with a teaspoonful of salt will help to reduce gum soreness and inflammation. Salt is a natural antibacterial agent. Swish the salt water around the tooth, trying to get into the areas your toothbrush cannot reach. This should be done several times a day.
An antibacterial mouthwash containing chlorhexidine can also reduce the inflammation. Pain-relieving tablets can also be useful in the short term, but consult your dentist if the pain continues.
BUT IF IT DOES NOT HELP?
If the pain does not go away or you find it difficult to open your mouth, you should your dentist. They will be able to see the cause of the problem, and advise you on the best course of treatment. It may be useful to clean around the tooth very thoroughly, and an antibiotic may be prescribed.
ARE X-RAYS NEEDED?
The dentist will usually take x-rays to see the position of the root, and to assess whether there is room for the tooth to come through into a useful position.
WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR TAKING WISDOM TEETH OUT?
Less and less wisdom teeth are now taken out than in the past. If the tooth is not causing problems, your dentist will not want to remove it.
They will only remove wisdom teeth when it is clear they will not be able to come through into a useful position usually because there is not enough room, If they have only partly come through and are decayed, such teeth will often decay as it will be difficult to clean them as thoroughly as your other teeth, If they are painful and are causing severe discomfort.
ARE WISDOM TEETH DIFFICULT TO TAKE OUT?
This all depends on the position of the tooth itself and the shape of the roots in the gum. Your dentist will advise you as to how easy or difficult each tooth will be to remove. Upper wisdom teeth are often more straightforward to remove than lower ones, this is because they are less likely to be impacted. Your dentist will advise you whether the tooth should be taken out at the practice, or whether you should be referred to a specialist at a hospital. The extraction is either local anaesthetic or sedation will probably be recommended, sedation however is not performed at Healthy Smile Dental and a referral to another clinic will be necessary. A general anaesthetic (where you would be asleep) can also be used, but this will only be given in a hospital.
WILL IT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE TO MY FACE OR MOUTH?
Removing wisdom teeth may produce some swelling for a few days but as soon as the area is healed, there will be no difference to your face or appearance. Your mouth will feel more comfortable and less crowded even more so if the teeth are impacted.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AFTER A WISDOM TOOTH IS TAKEN OUT?
The amount of discomfort will depend on how easy the removal of the tooth was. There is usually some swelling and discomfort afterwards, and it is important to follow any post extraction advise you receive, this will help with the healing. Usual pain-killers will deal with any pain. It is best to stay fairly quiet and relaxed and avoid smoking and drinking for 24 hours afterwards to make sure there are no bleeding problems. There may be some stitches to help the gum heal over – your dentist will probably want to see you again about a week later to check on the healing, and to remove any stitches if any were placed
WHAT DOES IT COST?
The cost of removal of wisdom teeth will vary according to the difficulty of the procedure and whether it is being carried out in a dental practice or hospital. You get a written estimate before starting treatment. Please see Healthy Smile Dental fee guild for the other services.
Need more advice?
If you need more advice about your oral health, make an enquiry or arrange an appointment with us.