Wisdom teeth are the late adult teeth to erupt. Also known as “third molars,” wisdom teeth are located at the back of your mouth. They sometimes erupt normally and cause no problems. However, there are occasions where they become partially or entirely impacted (stuck) in the jawbone or gums. When this occurs, infection, cavities, and other oral health problems may develop. Because of this, dentists advise having your wisdom teeth removed.
Do all people have wisdom teeth?
Not everybody has wisdom teeth, though. A recent study discovered that 53% of people have at least one wisdom tooth. Additionally, some people never get any.
When do wisdom teeth grow?
Wisdom teeth erupt at various ages, typically between the ages of 17 and 25 years old. However, some individuals experience wisdom tooth development earlier than others.
Having wisdom teeth removal is easier when you are young as the bones supporting your gums are soft, and the nerve roots in your mouth haven’t fully developed. Therefore, it is simpler to extract these teeth.
Why do we have wisdom teeth?
Our mouth only has a place for 28 teeth. Thirty-two teeth could arise from all four of your wisdom teeth coming in, which could cause crowding. What are they for if the mouth only has room for roughly 28 teeth?
One theory holds that our ancient ancestors needed wisdom teeth as an aid for their diet which was mainly coarse and rough food. Due to their diverse diets, which may not have been as soft, our ancestors required more chewing.
Meanwhile, we consume soft food which requires less chewing and results in less tooth wear. These days, wisdom teeth are rarely helpful and frequently do more harm than good.
Problems with the wisdom teeth
Whether or not they are visible, they still can affect oral health. Impacted wisdom teeth are teeth that have not yet come out of the gums. This can occasionally lead to even more issues than visible ones. The issues include:
Wisdom teeth infections are more prone to happen than other teeth for several reasons. Because of their location in the very back of the mouth, it can be challenging to floss correctly adjacent to them, encouraging bacteria growth.
These molars can also stay partially impacted because they erupt into an already-crowded mouth, leading to additional difficult-to-reach spaces. Pericoronitis, an infection, can occasionally develop when soft tissue covers partially impacted wisdom teeth.
The following are some of the early impacted wisdom teeth symptoms:
- Sensitivity or discomfort
- Swelling or tender gums
- Bleeding or red gums
- Bad breath, unpleasant taste in your mouth, and white fluid or leaking around the teeth
- Jaw discomfort and stiff jaw
- Trouble speaking, breathing, or opening your mouth
You should see your dentist if you suffer from wisdom teeth pain.
How to reduce wisdom teeth infection
Depending on the severity and positioning of the tooth, a wisdom tooth infection can be treated in several ways. To treat the infection, your dentist will first advise taking antibiotics. Surgery is the best way to prevent reinfection once the infected region has been cleaned.
To reduce the areas where bacteria can accumulate, your dentist may prescribe a special toothbrush called a single tufted brush to help you clean better. In some circumstances, wisdom teeth surgery—including partial or complete tooth removal—is the best option for keeping the area clean and preventing pain. Your dentist will check your teeth and do a local X-ray. This will assist in determining the best course of therapy for your tooth.
If there is space and the wisdom tooth position is erupting correctly, your dentist can do a procedure called operculectomy to help remove the soft tissue partly covering your gums to help expose the crown of the tooth. This helps with cleaning and prevents food stuck under the soft tissue which mainly is the cause of infection. However, this option is not suitable if there is not enough space for the wisdom tooth to fully erupt in the jaw or if the position of the wisdom tooth is not ideal.
Antibiotics are used to treat wisdom teeth with moderate to severe infections that have spread to the surrounding soft tissues. Dentists advise taking medication for at least a week before having the damaged tooth fixed or extracted. Antibiotics help heal an infected tooth and stop the spread of bacteria.
In addition, your dentist could advise painkillers to be used both before and after an infection. You’ll need to visit your dentist once again to have the tooth fixed or extracted after the infection has been treated.
Why should we remove wisdom teeth?
Even when there are no infections, wisdom teeth removal is usually recommended. Your dentist could advise removing them as they emerge since they could crowd your mouth, harm or shift other teeth and cause pain in the future.
Dentists occasionally advise wisdom tooth removal to prevent these teeth from erupting later and causing all these problems especially if it can be predicted to happen.
Most individuals get their wisdom teeth extracted for one of the following reasons:
- They are impacted and they did not erupt normally because they are located far back in your mouth.
- They may get stuck in your gums or jawbone, which can be uncomfortable.
- They erupt from an incorrect angle and affect your other teeth.
- You don’t have enough space to fit additional molars into your jaw.
- You have gum disease or cavities, and your toothbrush or dental floss can’t reach your wisdom teeth.
Do all wisdom teeth need to be removed?
No. You may not need to remove your normal wisdom teeth if they create no issues. But make an appointment with your dentist if you begin to hurt or feel uncomfortable. They can go over all of your alternatives in depth.
Wisdom teeth removal procedure
Your dentist might remove your wisdom teeth whole or in part if it is damaged. Removing impacted wisdom teeth reduces the possibility of infection. The procedure of wisdom teeth surgery is given below.
Before the surgery
The oral surgeon will meet with you to discuss the procedure. If you attend this appointment, be sure to:
- Discuss any health issues you may have.
- List any medications you regularly take.
- Ask any queries you may have regarding the procedure.
- Talk about the type of anesthetic you’ll receive.
- Plan a day off from work or school to recover at home after surgery.
During the surgery
You will usually be given a local anesthetic injection to desensitize the area around the tooth.
You may feel pressure just before the tooth is extracted because your dentist must widen the tooth socket by moving the tooth back and forth.
Sometimes a small cut in the gum is required, and the tooth may need to be cut in half before it can be removed.
A wisdom tooth removal can take from 30 minutes or even longer.
After having your wisdom teeth extracted, you may experience swelling and discomfort inside and outside your mouth. Mild bruising is also visible on occasion. This is typically worse for the first three days, but it can last up to one week.
Potential risks and adverse effects after wisdom teeth surgery include:
- Pain and swelling
- Tongue, lower lip, or chin numbness
A mouth infection may develop a few days to a week after having wisdom teeth out. Inform your dentist of any symptoms. To treat it, you might require possibly dry socket management and/or an additional course of antibiotics.
After the surgery
Most patients experience minimal or no pain after the wisdom teeth surgery. You’ll probably experience swelling and some discomfort for around three days. It can take a few weeks for your mouth to fully recover. Adhere to your doctor’s recommendations. The following advice is for the first three days after surgery:
- Apply an ice pack to reduce swelling.
- Use moist heat for an aching jaw.
- Open and close your mouth gently to strengthen your jaw.
- Eat soft foods like soup, pasta, and porridge.
- Drink a lot of water.
- Have ice cream to help reduce the bleeding
- Contact your doctor immediately if you have a fever or notice no improvement in your discomfort or swelling.
- Don’t use a straw for drinking. Sucking may cause blood clots to dissolve.
- Avoid rinsing immediately after surgery for 48 hours.
- Avoid eating anything sticky, crunchy, or hard since it could irritate your wounds.
- Avoid hot food and beverages.
- Avoid smoking. Smoking can delay healing.
How to reduce wisdom tooth pain
Before your dentist appointment, painkillers and numbing creams might help you manage the discomfort and get a good night’s rest.
While there are some home remedies for pain, they too can not treat wisdom tooth infections. However, If you have to wait to visit your dentist, try some of these remedies to help relieve your pain.
Wisdom teeth removal cost
The cost to remove a wisdom tooth in Malaysia at Stellar Dental clinic via normal extraction is RM250 while via surgery is RM800-1000. If the case is complex and needs to be done by a specialist, it can go up to RM1600.
Wisdom tooth extraction is a standard dental procedure. It is frequently advised to protect your other teeth from future problems and to maintain your oral health. Most people recover quickly and can resume daily activities within a few days.
Got an impacted wisdom tooth? You don’t have to live with discomfort. Waiting can aggravate your condition. Stellar Dental clinic can provide you with the necessary care. Our dynamic team of dental surgeons and board-certified dental specialists is ready to assist you with wisdom tooth extraction.