Your third set of molars are called wisdom teeth. They appear in the back of your mouth and come in during your late teens up to mid-twenties. Ideally, they’re supposed to help you chew food better, but sometimes they cause serious problems that warrant a visit to the dentist. Are you thinking about getting wisdom teeth removal from Mas’ood Cajee DDS MPH, in Manteca, CA? Let’s take a look at the common signs, symptoms, and available treatment.
Why Would You Need Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Wisdom teeth do not always need to be removed. There are no proven benefits to extracting wisdom teeth unless they’re causing (or might cause) dental problems. However, the older you get, the harder and more painful it becomes to remove wisdom teeth. As soon as you reach your late teens, it’s worth seeking advice from your dentist if you could potentially benefit from wisdom tooth removal.
Serious problems caused by wisdom teeth are not always evident in the beginning, and waiting for their symptoms to manifest can be a bad idea. There are even times when your wisdom teeth do not come in at all. You might not know if they’re on the way and about to cause serious pain.
If your third set of molars are not yet causing any pain or infection, it doesn’t mean they will stay that way in the future. Depending on the position and growth of your wisdom teeth, they can soon cause damage and problems. The best way to assess this is through x-rays. As dentists, we’ll be able to tell if your wisdom teeth are bound to move and cause troubles in the coming months or years.
You might feel bad about removing healthy molars, but it’s not the case with wisdom teeth. Just because they look healthy on the outside doesn’t mean they’re worth keeping. Getting rid of your wisdom teeth may come with a few benefits:
- More defined facial features
- Reduced frequency of headaches
- Avoiding unwanted tooth movement
- Less facial discomfort
- Decreased risk of oral infections
If you have tried to address these symptoms by other means, then wisdom teeth removal might be the right solution for you. Let’s dig deeper into the common signs and symptoms that you need to consider getting your wisdom teeth removed.
Common Signs and Symptoms That You Need Wisdom Teeth Removal
The following signs may be observed by your dentist or health practitioner. During your late teens to early twenties, a regular dental checkup may reveal that you have underlying wisdom teeth issues.
On the other hand, the symptoms listed below are pains, sensations, and observations that others may not see, but you can feel.
No Room for Growth
What happens when you do not have enough room to properly grow your wisdom teeth? This condition is common among people with smaller frames and narrower jaws. Wisdom teeth that lack space for growth are known as impacted teeth. When you have impacted wisdom teeth, you might also notice that they’re erupting in the wrong direction.
But did you know that about a third or 35% of our population are no longer developing wisdom teeth? Scientists believe that this is due to evolution. We no longer need wisdom teeth to chew thick, raw meat, unlike our ancestors. But if you belong to the majority who have impacted wisdom teeth, you might surely experience a level of discomfort or pain.
Jaw Damage and Pain
The existence of wisdom teeth can compromise the structural integrity of your jaw. If you’re into outdoor and sports activities, this may cause you to have an increased risk of jaw fracture. The best way to assess your risk for jaw damage is to get an x-ray scan or to talk to a dental professional.
Jaw discomfort, swelling, and stiffness can also be caused by wisdom teeth as they erupt. They can push against nearby teeth and cause unwanted movements. If you wake up one day to a jaw that feels stiff and difficult to open, you may be experiencing the signs of erupting wisdom teeth. This condition can last up to two weeks.
Problems with your sinus may be caused by wisdom teeth appearing in the upper jaw. Your sinuses are in very close proximity to the upper wisdom teeth. As the roots of your third molars grow and develop, they may rub or push against the sinuses.
If you’ve been experiencing nasal congestion, headaches, and sinus pressure, an erupting wisdom tooth might be the culprit. By taking your wisdom teeth out, you can lift the pressure off your sinuses, giving you relief from tension headaches and even jaw pain.
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain and pressure in the back of your mouth. But did you know that cysts can also develop around them? Cysts are tiny sacs of fluid that can grow and cause damage to your jawbone and the roots of nearby teeth. When left on their own, they can cause teeth and nerve damage.
In worse cases, benign tumors can develop around impacted wisdom teeth. If you’ve been experiencing pain, swelling, and inflammation in the back area of your mouth, don’t hesitate to seek dental treatment. You’ll need to solve the root cause of the problem.
Inflammation and Infection
Partially erupted wisdom teeth can cause you to experience pericoronitis, an infection of the gum tissue (or flap) that covers them. If you’ve been experiencing gum pain near a partially erupted wisdom, it’s time to get in touch with a dentist and consider a wisdom tooth removal.
When not given adequate attention, wisdom teeth infection can cause sore throats and swelling of the lymph nodes. You’ll also be likely to notice pus drainage in the affected area. Daily activities such as chewing, eating, or talking may become difficult for you when you are suffering from wisdom teeth infection.
Bad Breath and Poor Oral Hygiene
Because they erupt in hard-to-reach areas, wisdom teeth can become the dwelling place of bacteria in your mouth. They make brushing, flossing, and overall dental hygiene become so much more challenging. Unless you get rid of your wisdom teeth, you might persistently experience bad breath or a constant bad taste in the mouth.
The condition worsens if you are an active smoker or already have poor dental hygiene. However, keep in mind that a wisdom tooth extraction will not instantly stop bad breath. You would still need to maintain good hygiene and proper care for your teeth.
Cavities and Damage to Other Teeth
Your third molars are more vulnerable to tooth decay and infection. When not given the right treatment, they can cause damage and cavities to other teeth. Abscessed teeth can rupture, causing the spread of infection and bacteria to other healthy teeth. Your bones and other parts of your body may also be at risk.
If the tooth decay in your wisdom teeth is accessible and easy to reach, you may still ask a dentist to place fillings in the affected areas. Otherwise, an extraction might be necessary to prevent further decay.
Treatment for Wisdom Teeth
Do you relate to the signs and symptoms of problematic wisdom teeth? Are you interested in preventing worse problems in the future? Then it’s time to consider treatment. Early prevention is better than waiting for symptoms to arrive.
Before scheduling an appointment with your dental care provider, you might consider some home remedies. These will help you get through unbearable pain or discomfort:
- Numbing gels
- Saltwater rinse
- Cold compress
- Hydrogen peroxide rinse
While these may provide immediate comfort, you’d still need to secure a dental appointment as soon as possible.
Consultation and Initial Care
A proper assessment is made before the treatment. After discussing your medical conditions or history, your dentist or oral surgeon may require an x-ray. This will help to properly assess the location and growth of your wisdom teeth, especially if they’re impacted. This is also a common requirement if you are considering an extraction soon.
What if You Have an Infection?
If you’re visiting the dentist due to unbearable pain, cysts, or an abscessed tooth, the infection must be treated first. Your dentist will ask you to take antibiotics or other medicines.
Once the infection has subsided, you should notice less swelling and pain in the surrounding area. You’ll be ready for extraction once the painful areas have normalized.
Preparing for Dental Extraction
On the day of your dental extraction, your dentist or oral surgeon will set proper expectations and talk to you about the procedure. Remember, you must be confident and relaxed during your wisdom tooth removal. As healthcare providers, we are always making sure that you experience little to no pain at all times.
Based on the complexity of the extraction and your comfort level, your dentist will choose from the following types of anesthesia:
- Local anesthesia
- Sedation anesthesia
- General anesthesia
Sedation anesthesia and general anesthesia will affect your consciousness during the procedure. You will have little to no memory of it. On the other hand, local anesthesia will only numb the affected area. You will only feel some pressure while staying awake during the extraction.
The Extraction Process
Wisdom teeth removal can be more complicated and time-consuming compared to other types of tooth extraction. We take into consideration whether the wisdom tooth has only partially erupted.
Separating the Gum and Tooth
After disinfecting the area, your dentist or surgeon will start the procedure by opening the gum tissue over the tooth. Your dentist will cut and remove the flap that covers your impacted wisdom tooth.
Pulling Out the Tooth
In some situations, your dentist or surgeon may cut up the tooth into smaller pieces so that they can be easier to pull out. Once the area is clear, you may need some stitches to stop the bleeding and promote the healing of gum tissue.
You might consider taking some time off to recover and rest after your wisdom tooth removal. The healing and recovery period may take up to two weeks. Taking enough rest and avoiding strenuous activities will help you heal faster.
A week after your treatment, your surgeon or dentist might ask you to return for the removal of your stitches. You can expect a gradual improvement in the days to come. Focus on the benefits and long term relief you’ll feel now that your problematic wisdom teeth are gone!
Get Expert Advice and Care for Your Wisdom Teeth Today
Caring for your oral health should always be a top priority. Your natural teeth are precious and irreplaceable. Are you experiencing pain and other dental problems due to wisdom teeth? Would you like to avoid them in the future? It’s time to get expert care on wisdom tooth extraction. Schedule your appointment with Mas’ood Cajee DDS MPH, in Manteca, CA today to get only the best care and treatment that you deserve.