Wisdom teeth generally come in during your late teens to mid-twenties and date back to a time when our jaws were larger and could accommodate this additional row of teeth. And, because our jaws have shrunk, wisdom teeth can cause pain and other problems. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the signs to look out for that could indicate that you need your wisdom teeth to be extracted.
This is one of the most obvious signs and normally manifests in a dull aching pain in the jaw, that can also radiate to other parts of the face and feel like sinus pain or a headache. Chewing red meat and similar textured food will often make the pain worse and more concentrated towards the back of the mouth.
If there is no space for wisdom teeth to come in, they can cause overcrowding in your mouth which forces previously straight teeth out of alignment. This can lead to teeth moving in front of each other, cause gum problems and also lead to infections from trapped food.
Sudden sensitivity change
An increase in sensitivity to hot or cold food and drink can point towards problems associated with your wisdom teeth. As the wisdom teeth move into place it can disrupt the nerves of nearby teeth causing a sudden change in sensitivity. If the sensitivity disappears quickly then this is normally a sign of your wisdom teeth, rather than a loss of enamel in your teeth.
When your wisdom teeth come in crooked or at an angle, they can become impacted on the other teeth in your mouth. This can then cause tenderness and swelling in the gum and lead to gum disease as well as damage to the surrounding teeth. The wisdom tooth may also puncture the gum and cause additional problems.
If you notice any of the signs above, then it is best to visit your local dentist as soon as possible. Impacted wisdom teeth, in particular, can cause problems and lead to a range of dental issues such as jaw infections, cysts, cavities and nerve damage.
Wisdom tooth extraction
Following X-rays by your dentist they will be able to advise on whether your wisdom teeth need to be removed and if this can be done by them or whether you need to be referred to a dental surgeon. Most wisdom teeth removal is fairly straightforward and can be carried out in your local dental practice under local anaesthetic.
If you are referred to a hospital then you may be given a general anaesthetic, depending on the location of your teeth, which means that you’ll be asleep during the procedure. This will likely involve cutting into your gum to remove the tooth and closing the wound with dissolving stitches.
Depending on the extraction, recovery from a wisdom tooth removal is generally straight forward with over the counter pain killers able to provide the necessary relief. Icing the area, soft food and mouth rinses will all help to ensure that your recovery is as fast as possible, and your dentist will also provide you with specific care and cleaning instructions to help aid recovery.