Impacted Wisdom Teeth: Symptoms and Treatment
Impacted Wisdom Teeth: Symptoms and Treatment
Dealing with Impacted Wisdom Teeth: Symptoms and Treatment
Wisdom teeth come in at different times for different people. These teeth are referred to as third molars and are situated at the rear of the upper and lower jaws. They usually come between 17 and 25, but it is not uncommon for them to appear even in a person’s 40s or 50s. We call them wisdom teeth because they come in during a phase of life often associated with the “age of wisdom.”
What is the Purpose of Wisdom Teeth?
We can understand the purpose of wisdom teeth in the context of human evolution and dietary practices. During ancient times, human diets primarily consisted of raw plant material and uncooked meat, requiring rigorous chewing. Such diets led to significant tooth wear and early tooth loss, where the third set of molars provided an evolutionary advantage, ensuring functional chewing capabilities throughout life. The larger jaw structures of our ancestors comfortably accommodated these extra teeth.
However, tooth wear and tear diminished as human diets evolved and became softer with the advent of cooking. Changes in food preparation reduced the need for molars, and our jaws gradually reduced in size with evolving diets. As a result, most people no longer require these back teeth for chewing, and many no longer need to accommodate them in their mouths.
And that is why today wisdom teeth cause more problems than they solve. They can become impacted and lead to pain and infection. That is why dentists frequently recommend their removal.
When does my wisdom tooth become a problem?
Your wisdom tooth becomes problematic when encountering various issues that impact your oral health. One of the common concerns is impaction. A wisdom tooth can grow sideways or tilted in your jaw. Some may come partially or remain completely under the gum and bone. Wisdom teeth become a problem when they push and damage the neighboring molars. This area is also vulnerable as this area is difficult to clean.
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How do you know if I have impacted Wisdom Teeth?
An impacted tooth will not show symptoms unless it becomes infected or starts causing other dental problems. Here are some of the symptoms of dental problems.
- Prolonged headache
- Bad breath
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Pain or swelling of the gums or jawbone
- Pain when chewing or biting
- Difficulty opening your jaw
What are the most common types of treatment for wisdom teeth?
The most common treatment for impacted addressing wisdom teeth issues is wisdom teeth removal. The best way to diagnose impacted teeth is by X-ray or to find misaligned teeth. The dental doctor performs the procedure under sedation within the confines of your dentist’s or an oral surgeon’s office. However, they can also conduct it under general anesthesia in a hospital setting.
Wisdom teeth removal is not bound by age, as individuals of various age groups may undergo this procedure. Many opt for wisdom teeth removal in their early twenties or late teens when these molars become problematic.
Your surgeon will provide postoperative instructions to ensure comfort and facilitate a smooth recuperation process.
Unlike other teeth in your mouth, wisdom teeth do not significantly contribute to overall dental function. Therefore, you don’t need replacement once the doctor successfully removes them from the mouth. The procedure is a common and effective solution to alleviate potential dental complications.
Recovering from wisdom tooth extraction
The recovery time of wisdom tooth extraction can depend on factors such as age and if doctors find that you have impacted teeth. The recovery cycle usually takes around three days to 2 weeks.
Most people can return to their normal routine after a few days of surgery. It can take up to six weeks for the mouth to completely heal. After the surgery, you won’t be able to open your mouth for about a week, and you must consume soft foods.
After the surgery, you may experience pain, bleeding, and swelling. And that is why you should follow the guidelines of your doctor for managing discomfort and taking medications.
Do you have to remove impacted teeth?
If your impacted wisdom tooth does not manifest any immediate issues, your dentist will suggest leaving it alone. There has been debate in the medical field about whether wisdom teeth should be removed to prevent future problems. However, some suggest leaving them as they are is the best option.
If you and your healthcare provider opt to skip surgical intervention, it’s essential to maintain vigilant dental care. Regular dental check-ups help to monitor the status of your impacted wisdom teeth and detect any emerging concerns. You should also practice good oral hygiene to mitigate the risk of gum inflammation or infection.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Should people be worried if they have no wisdom teeth?
A: No, not having wisdom teeth is not a cause for concern. Some individuals naturally do not develop wisdom teeth, which is considered normal.
Q: Is it necessary to remove impacted wisdom teeth?
A: The necessity to remove impacted wisdom teeth depends on various factors. If impacted wisdom teeth are causing pain, infection, damage to surrounding teeth, or other oral health issues, their removal is usually recommended by dental professionals.
Q: What happens if you don’t remove impacted wisdom teeth?
A: If you do not remove impacted wisdom teeth, they can lead to several complications. These include infection, gum disease, tooth decay, cysts, and damage to nearby teeth. Regular monitoring and consultation with a dentist are essential to assess the condition of impacted wisdom teeth.
Q: When should I seek care for impacted wisdom teeth?
A: It is advisable to seek care for impacted wisdom teeth if you experience persistent pain, swelling, or infection in the area around the affected tooth. Additionally, if you have difficulty opening your mouth or experience changes in your bite, it is recommended to consult a dental professional for evaluation and appropriate treatment options.
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Disclaimer : The content of this article is not a substitute for professional dental advice.