What Are Wisdom Teeth?

wisdom teeth pain

“Wisdom teeth” are the last four molars to appear in adults in the very back part of the upper and lower jaws. They usually grow in after adolescence (generally late teens or early twenties) and often cause alignment problems, the risk of infection, and other potentially painful and dangerous issues when surfacing.

Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?

When the wisdom teeth start breaking through the gum line and pushing against the other molars or jaw as they grow, the pain can be sudden and bothersome. Although there is a chance all four teeth will come in straight and you may not experience much discomfort, it’s common for at least one or two, if not all four, wisdom teeth to grow in crooked or not all the way. This will result in overcrowding or shifting of the other teeth, leading to potentially damaging oral problems. There simply isn’t enough room in the mouth to accommodate all four wisdom teeth comfortably.

In most cases, the wisdom teeth will need to be extracted to avoid damage to the mouth, jaw or other teeth.

What Damage Can Be Caused by Wisdom Teeth?

damage from wisdom teeth

There are several factors that can lead to potential problems with wisdom teeth. Because wisdom teeth grow in so much later in life than all other adult teeth, they commonly cause issues such as:

  • Tooth impaction and overcrowding
  • Tooth and gum infections
  • Pressure sores or cysts
  • Pounding pain in tooth, gums, and mouth
  • Headache and/or facial discomfort

Impacted teeth are the most common issue with wisdom teeth and occur when the tooth does not properly grow. This can be from the tooth only partially coming out or not growing in the right direction, resulting in misalignment with the other teeth.

Infections can be caused by food getting caught in the openings of where the teeth are surfacing, allowing bacteria to grow and the gums to become irritated. The pressure of the additional teeth in the mouth can also cause hairline fractures and cavities in the surrounding teeth, eventually leading to rot and infection. If infections in the mouth spread anywhere past the entry point, it can lead to life-threatening conditions. Immediate medical intervention is needed in these situations.

Cysts are swollen sacs next to the teeth that fill with fluid due to irritation or infection. These are potentially very dangerous as they destroy bones, tooth structure, and roots if left untreated.

When Should You Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Dentists will often recommend extraction when it’s clear your wisdom teeth are growing in, to avoid problems down the road even if you’re not experiencing any painful symptoms. When the wisdom teeth initially start growing, the tissue is still soft and flexible, making them easier to remove. Once they become hard and dense with time, extraction becomes more difficult with increased risk for complications.

If you didn’t have your wisdom teeth removed when they first started to form, there is a good chance you may experience the issues previously mentioned, such as tooth impaction, infections, cysts and painful discomfort. There also may be slight bleeding as the teeth surface through the gums, and sores or lacerations may develop around these areas. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your dentist right away to avoid further damage.

If you are unable to see your dentist immediately due to work or travel, there are wisdom teeth home remedies that will help alleviate some of the discomforts until you are able to make an appointment. Your Reno dentist will then make recommendations on the best way to move forward.

What’s Involved with Wisdom Teeth Extraction?

Dentist looking at wisdom teeth

A skilled dentist can remove wisdom teeth with local anesthesia if there are no underlying factors to consider. Depending on possible complications, where the wisdom teeth are located and how much they’ve grown out, an oral surgeon may have to perform the extraction. An oral surgeon has the necessary equipment and advanced skills to handle a complicated extraction should any problems arise during the procedure.

General anesthesia or other medications may be administered before the extraction in many cases. This allows you to relax or fall asleep during the extraction process, easing any anxiety or tension during the procedure.

A typical extraction of all four wisdom teeth will generally take about 15 to 30 minutes. If there are complicating circumstances present, such as infection or cysts, the procedure time may be longer.

What Can Be Expected After the Procedure

talking with dentist after wisdom teeth extraction

After the wisdom teeth extraction, your dentist or oral surgeon will give you care instructions for a quick and easy recovery. It is crucial to follow all directions that are given to you to prevent complications afterward. This may include avoiding certain foods, specific cleaning instructions or following an antibiotic schedule during the healing process. Although wisdom teeth removal is considered a minor surgery, major problems can develop if proper care is not exercised after the procedure.

The recovery period can take several days after wisdom teeth are removed. Generally, you can expect some swelling, sensitivity, and mouth and jaw pain. Initial bleeding or oozing following the surgery is common but should taper off throughout your recovery. In some cases, pain medication will be needed to manage higher degrees of discomfort. The need for pain medication will typically lessen with each day after the extraction.

If you experience any of the following, your dentist should be contacted immediately:

  • Fever
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Severe pain

Fever, excessive bleeding, and severe pain are signs you may have developed an infection or are experiencing other issues that could put your health at risk. Seek medical care right away if you have any of these symptoms after your wisdom teeth extraction.

Once your mouth has healed from the procedure, you should have noticeable relief from any discomfort you felt prior to the extraction. If your wisdom teeth caused gum damage, cavities or cracks in other teeth, make sure to schedule a follow-up visit with your dentist for further treatment.

Start Smiling Now

Call us now to make an appointment at a location near you and receive a complete exam & X-ray for only $39.

Call and Make Your Appointment

(844) 8-SMILE-NOW

Start Your Appointment Online

Make Appointment
X
- Enter Your Location -
- or -